Aim: Phylogenomics Stage 2
Project initiation: Aug 2021
Project lead: Todd McLay | Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Grass trees (Xanthorrhoea, also known as yaccas, balgas) are an iconic component of the Australian flora. With their unmistakable habit they are uniquely resilient to fire, and for many species fire leads to an onset of mast flowering, producing copious amounts of food for animals.
We will sequence hundreds of genes to resolve the evolutionary relationships between species in this genus, allowing us to make inferences on how the Australian environment has influenced their diversification over the last 30 million years. This information will be combined with whole genome sequencing data (also GAP funded) to provide clear insights to the genetics underlying the traits that have allowed grass trees to be so well-adapted to life in Australia.