Abstract Detail


Baker, William [1], PAFTOL, Team [1].

Completing the angiosperm tree of life - over half-way there.

The tree of life is the fundamental biological roadmap for navigating the evolution and properties of life on Earth, and yet remains largely unknown. Even angiosperms are fraught with data gaps, despite their critical role in sustaining terrestrial life. Since 2016, the Plant & Fungal Trees of Life (PAFTOL) project at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew has attempted to address this knowledge gap by leveraging biological collections with novel genomic tools at unprecedented scale within an open data environment that maximises opportunity for community collaboration. In this talk, we describe the project’s efforts to complete the angiosperm tree of life for all genera. Key achievements to date include: (1) the creation of Angiosperms353, an innovative, open-access, target sequence capture toolkit for tree of life research on any flowering plant, widely accessible “off-the-shelf” and adopted across the plant science community worldwide, including major international consortia; (2) the assembly of Angiosperms353 sequence data for 7,514 (55%) of the 13,600 genera of flowering plants, amounting to ca. 1.5 billion base pairs in total; (3) a tree of life containing all 7,514 genera of flowering plants sequenced to date, integrating our own novel data for ca. 6,000 genera, with data sourced from collaborators and public resources; (4) an open data portal, the Kew Tree of Life Explorer (https://treeoflife.kew.org/) launched in February 2021, through which our tree of life and all underpinning data are made publicly available in versioned releases, with release 2.0 (January 2022) containing data for 9,823 samples; (5) a collaborative network of >300 individuals worldwide (including the Genomics of Australian Plants (GAP) project) driving >30 projects using PAFTOL data; (6) data production and analysis protocols, open access-published for the benefit of all; (7) >30 scientific papers (including two “special issues” of APPS and AJB focused on applications of Angiosperms353); (8) public outreach activities communicating the science of PAFTOL via the garden interpretation, Kew Science Festivals and the UK National Curriculum-focused Endeavour programme. As the project transitions from the conclusion of the first phase into a newly funded 4-year programme (2022-2026), we describe our plans for completing the task for all genera, our future science objectives, and the challenges and learnings of our journey so far. We welcome collaboration from all corners of the community and encourage anyone with interests in working with us on data generation, sharing or utilisation to get in touch.

Related Links:
PAFTOL project web site
Kew Tree of Life Explorer

1 - Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Richmond, London, TW9 3AE, United Kingdom

Open Access
tree of life.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: PHYLO I013
Abstract ID:409
Candidate for Awards:None

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