Macadamia

Research Summary

Macadamia is a tree nut crop derived from the Australian subtropical rainforest endemic species Macadamia integrifolia and M. tetraphylla and their hybrids. Belonging to the ancient Gondwanan family Proteaceae, macadamia is the first native Australian food plant to be cultivated and marketed worldwide. Commercial varieties developed primarily in Hawaii are the basis for the macadamia industry in Australia, Africa, Hawaii and Asia.

The domestication history of macadamia is short and most cultivated trees are only a few generations from their wild progenitors. Until recently, genomic sequence data for Macadamia and other Proteaceae species was limited. Genomic sequencing is providing new opportunities for understanding the genetic basis of traits that are of economic importance for the macadamia industry; and of adaptive importance for wild Macadamia populations.

Current interests include:

  • Marker development
  • Variety identification and pedigree analysis
  • Genotype x Environment interactions
  • Genome evolution in the Proteaceae

Funding/Collaborators

  • NSW Government Industry and Investment
  • Professor Robert Henry, QAAFI, University of Queensland
  • Dr Craig Hardner, QAAFI, University of Queensland
  • Mustard Seed Finance Trust
  • Dr Wayne Hancock, Korora R & D Pty Ltd

Research outcomes

Southern Cross Plant Science has generated the first genome-wide sequence data for Macadamia integrifolia and has used these data initially to develop markers for variety identification and population studies. A draft chloroplast genome sequence has been assembled and initial steps towards the characterisation of the genome of Macadamia are underway.

Contacts

Dr Catherine Nock: cathy.nock@scu.edu.au

Professor Graham King: graham.king@scu.edu.au