Macadamia jansenii
Photo by Prof. Bruce Topp


To compare different long read sequencing approaches for assembly of a complex plant genome.

Brief project outline

Three long read sequencing technologies were applied to the de novo assembly of a plant genome, Macadamia jansenii.

Genomics-based innovative aspect 

Several assemblers were benchmarked in the assembly of PacBio and Nanopore reads. The assemblies were compared for contiguity, accuracy and completeness as well as sequencing costs and DNA material requirements.

Broad applicability of the technique

Sequencing technologies have advanced to the point where it is possible to generate high accuracy, haplotype resolved, chromosome scale assemblies. Several long read sequencing technologies are available on the market and a growing number of algorithms have been developed over the last years to assemble the reads generated by those technologies. When starting a new genome project, it is therefore challenging to select the most cost-effective sequencing technology as well as the most appropriate software for assembly and polishing. For this reason, it is important to benchmark different approaches applied to the same sample. We have generated sequencing data using Pacific Biosciences (Sequel I), Oxford Nanopore Technologies (PromethION) and BGI (single-tube Long Fragment Read) technologies for the same plant sample.

Developments arising from this project

GIH Development: High Molecular Weight Nuclear DNA Extraction from difficult plant species for Long read sequencing (Oxford Nanopore Sequencing)

Publications arising from this project

Comparison of long-read methods for sequencing and assembly of a plant genome 

Valentine MurigneuxSubash Kumar Rai, Agnelo Furtado, Timothy J C Bruxner, Wei Tian, Ivon Harliwong, Hanmin Wei, Bicheng Yang, Qianyu Ye, Ellis Anderson, Qing Mao, Radoje Drmanac, Ou Wang, Brock A Peters, Mengyang Xu, Pei Wu, Bruce Topp, Lachlan J M Coin, Robert J Henry

GigaScience, Volume 9, Issue 12, December 2020, giaa146,


Improvements in the Sequencing and Assembly of Plant Genomes

Priyanka Sharma, Othman Aldossary, Bader Alsubaie, Ibrahim Al-Mssallem, Onkar Nath, Neena Mitter, Gabriel Margarido, Bruce Topp,  Valentine Murigneux, Ardy Masouleh, Agnelo Furtado, Robert J Henry.

bioRxiv 2021.01.22.427724; doi:

News and media releases

Endangered Plant Species Becomes Model for Genome Sequencing, International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA) Crop Biotech Update, March 10 2021

Critically endangered macadamia species becomes a plant, 8 March 2021

Critically endangered macadamia species becomes a plant supermodelThe SeqComplete Daily&Nightly, 4 March 2021

Endangered CQ macadamia becomes genetic supermodelCourier Mail/The Observer/The Chronicle, 28 February 2021

Researchers at the University of Queensland studying the endangered Macadamia Jansenii say it could be the supermodel for global plant genomicsGladstone Observer (Australia),  27 February, 2021

Critically endangered macadamia species becomes a plant supermodel, QAAFI Innovation in Agriculture, February 2021

Critically endangered macadamia species becomes a plant supermodelQAAFI news, 25 February 2021

Cracking a tough nut for macadamia growersUQ news, 24 January 2021

Genome Innovation Hub Facilitates a Novel Plant Sequencing Project, UQ Research Bulletin, 31 July 2020

Webinar: Comparison of long read methods for sequencing and assembly of a plant genomeAustralian BioCommons, 2 July 2020

MGI Webinar: Comparison of long read methods for sequencing and assembly of a plant genomeMGI Tech, 13 April 2020

Project members

Research collaborators

Professor Robert Henry

Professor Robert Henry

Institute Director
Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation (QAAFI)
Dr Agnelo Furtado

Dr Agnelo Furtado

Senior Research Fellow
Centre for Nutrition and Food Sciences, Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food Innovation
Dr Tim Bruxner

Dr Tim Bruxner

Sequencing Specialist
Institute for Molecular Bioscience
Joanna Crawford

Joanna Crawford

Senior Research Assistant
Institute for Molecular Bioscience

Genome Innovation Hub

Dr Subash Rai

Dr Subash Rai

Research Assistant
Genome Innovation Hub
Valentine Murigneux

Valentine Murigneux

Senior research assistant
Genome Innovation Hub
QCIF Facility for Advanced Bioinformatics