Project Description

Dr Elizabeth Ross

QAAFI, The University of Queensland

The application of long read sequencing technologies to animal agriculture

Long read bioinformatics and applications

Wednesday 3 July 2019

Originally from country Victoria, Elizabeth moved to Melbourne to study a Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience at La Trobe University. Following an honours year examining the link between MHCII genes and parasite burden in marsupials she began a PhD based at the Victorian Department of Primary Industries. Her PhD covered the metagenomic analysis of the dairy cattle rumen microbiome, including the prediction of quantitative traits from whole microbiome shotgun sequence data, virome assembly and sample comparisons. After a one year Postdoc at the University of Melbourne on the chickpea transcriptome, she took a two year break from academia before moving to The University of Queensland where she begun working with long read sequence data. Here at UQ she has assembled a platinum quality cattle genome using PacBio sequence data, as well as begun the voyage into Isoseq – the use of PacBio sequence data to identify full length transcripts. She coordinates the short read sequencing of hundreds of animals on the Illumina platform, and supervises Oxford Nanopore projects. She also leads the UQ long read sequencing group. In her spare time she enjoys playing with her two young daughters, her dog and camping.

Long read sequencing is changing genomics as we know it. The possibilities and economics of new technologies will drive a second genomic revolution in non-model organisms. Tasks such as the assembly of ultra-high quality genomes that use to take years, millions of dollars and whole teams of people can now be completed by just a few personal in under a year and for under $100K worth of consumables. But the possibilities don’t end there. Here we discuss the current and future state of applied long read sequencing, and its potential to provide real world impacts for agriculture. We also discuss the lessons and pitfalls of using long read technologies, and the implications for the current status quo of agricultural genomics.