Field trip to collect plant material for Full Genome sequencing of Polynesian Apiales plants

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Henrik Toft Simonsen


Technical University of Denmark


DKK 134,700




Field Trips / Research Stays >100,000


In order to enable scientists to make informed decisions on plant conservation there is need for in depth understanding of the plant biodiversity. Genetic data has become an important tool to understand relationships between plants, and discover new enzymes. We also know that genetic diversity is fundamental to the overall health of the plant population. Genetic data is therefore a central tool in conservation planning and food security. With our ongoing project we aim to perform full genome sequencing to provide a genomic tool box for at least 50 tropical non-model Apiales (Carrot order of plants) species. This will help to understand the origin and evolution of Pacific Apiales and gives us access to novel biosynthetic enzymes to be used for new biochemistry.


Plant biodiversity remains an untapped source for various agricultural and industrial applications. Most of the untapped sources are threatened by extinction due to land use and environmental changes. Based on our joint experience in exploring the use of Apiales plants, genome sequencing and phylogenetic relationships, we will provide new genetic and biosynthetic knowledge about at least 50 Apiales species that can lead to novel use in agriculture or other industries, and provide the foundation for a better biodiversity preservation. Apiales consist of 2,500-4,000 species, mainly within Apiaceae, the carrot family and Araliaceae, the ginseng family. The order includes important crop plants like carrots, parsley and coriander, along with ginseng. Only carrot and ginseng has been sequenced.


One fieldwork campaign for two weeks is planned based at NTBG headquarters on Kauai for sampling Apiales species on Kauai. A three-day trip to Hawaii Island is planned to collect other species of Apiales. The plan is to cover under-sampled areas of the island chain to provide samples for both the described genomic project, and also for the herbaria of NTBG and Copenhagen (C), which to data has very little material from Oceania dating back to the first Galathea expedition 1845-47. The field work is led by Nina Rønsted supported by an experienced NTBG field botanist. Together with Beijing Genome Institute, DTU and NTBG we will perform full genome sequencing and chemical profiling of collected plant species. This genomic and metabolomic overview will be published in peer-reviewed journals.

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