Genomics of Eucalyptus wood traits
A major focus of our research has been on using molecular technologies to guide breeding for high value wood and fibre traits in eucalypts. One approach has been to use genomic maps to locate and characterise QTL that control wood and fibre traits. A generic map for eucalypts has been developed that consists of codominant markers that can be assayed across the major commercial species. Also on the map are candidate genes for traits such as flowering and wood and fibre traits. QTL have been characterised for wood density, fibre length, pulp yield and microfibril angle. A number of these have been validated in a related pedigree. A subset of QTL colocates with candidate genes. Research is now focussed on DNA sequence variation in different parts of these candidate genes and determining if this variation is associated with variation in wood properties. Of particular interest are genes involved in fibre development and cell wall formation. A third approach is to profile the expression of genes in the tissue of interest and determine if this relates to variation in trait performance. Microarrays are being used to relate expression of several thousand genes in xylem tissue to variation in traits such as microfibril angle and density.
Moran, GF, Thamarus, K, Raymond, CA, Qiu, D, Uren, T & Southerton, SG 2002, 'Genomics of Eucalyptus wood traits', Annals of Forest Science, vol. 59, no. 5-6, pp. 645-650.
Publisher's version available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/forest:2002050
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