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Ongoing project

Genetic diversity and population structure of wild and domesticated macadamia (MC18004)

Key research provider: Southern Cross University

What’s it all about?

Beginning in the second half of 2019, this investment is uncovering information on the genetic history of macadamias that will ultimately assist in the development of new and improved varieties for growers. As wild populations of macadamia are found only in subtropical eastern Australia, this means they are an irreplaceable source of genetic material that could be used in the development of improved varieties.

The project team is tasked with analysing the biological data of a large collection of over 680 macadamia plant samples including wild and planted trees, predominant cultivars, new levy-funded cultivars and germplasm from Australian and Hawaiian breeding programs.

Key outcomes of the project include, but are not limited to:

  • Defining the distribution and structure of genetic diversity in wild, planted and domesticated germplasm to determine which populations and trees should be prioritised for conservation and included in future breeding collections.

  • Reconstructing the macadamia ‘family tree’ to confirm and discover interrelationships between different cultivars. This will help trace the history of macadamia domestication and contribute to a greater understanding of the species that can be used to inform future variety work.

  • Identifying the wild origins of macadamia domestication, including those of Australian cultivars and breeding program selections. This information will be crucial for identifying which populations and trees already have their genetics captured within cultivars and breeding programs, and also which novel genotypes and phenotypes are underrepresented in domestic germplasm that may have the potential to drive future productivity.
Related levy funds

This project is a strategic levy investment in the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund