We are very excited to announce the completion of the NSW waratah (Telopea speciosissima) genome from our Genomics for Australian Plants (GAP) Initiative led by researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, Sydney and the University of New South Wales, Sydney. The NSW waratah sequencing project commenced in December 2018 and was 1 of 3 pilot projects from the initiative.

The waratah is endemic to NSW and has been the state’s floral emblem since 1962. The genomic sequence will serve as an important platform and model for evolutionary genomics and the conservation of Australian flora. The availability of the waratah genome will help to further our understanding and gain new knowledge, which in turn will help researchers to make inform decisions for other species where their genome sequences are not yet available.

The plant chosen for sequencing is located at the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah. During the course of the project, the plant had perished in the summer bushfires of 2019/2020. Luckily the plant has since resprouted and has allowed the researchers to resume collection of plant material to complete the sequencing work. The complete genome is now published in the Molecular Ecology Resources journal.

The Genomics for Australian Plants (GAP) Initiative is a nationally-inclusive and collaborative initiative, which is supported by funding from Bioplatforms Australia through the Australian Government National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS), the Ian Potter Foundation, Royal Botanic Gardens Foundation (Victoria), Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust, the Council of Heads of Australasian Herbaria, CSIRO, Centre for Australian National Biodiversity Research and the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Western Australia.

For more details, please see below:

  1. Waratah genome project collaborators
  2. Waratah genome publication
  3. The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney press release
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