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Genome mapping for trees critical to Australian horticulture

tree leaf genetic stock image

A new $13.3 million joint research project will look at tree genetics to better understand how genes control traits that are valuable to Australian horticultural growers.

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Richard Colbeck said this genomic project is essential to ensure Australia’s horticulture industry growth remains competitive domestically and internationally.

“This is a landmark investment in research and development that will improve productivity, farmgate profitability and global competitiveness for Australian horticultural industries,” Minister Colbeck said.

“This five-year project, delivered through Hort Innovation and its research partners, aims to build a complete DNA map, which shows the genetic make-up and variability of Australia’s leading tree crops – avocado, mango, macadamia and citrus fruits.

“The Government is committed to its vital role in enabling research and development which will bear fruit for industries, workers and businesses in regional Australia.

“Understanding our leading tree crop DNA will help our Australian growers to develop more resilient trees and produce new plant varieties in response to pest and disease outbreaks, climate variation, and evolving consumer preference.

“In times of drought, trees which are able to produce more value for less water are critical and will allow our growers in areas like the Murray Darling Basin to better adapt to dry spells.

“I am excited the Australian Government was able to contribute to Hort Innovation’s research through Commonwealth co-investment in the Hort Frontiers Advanced Production System Fund.

“Australia’s horticultural industry operates in a highly competitive market—domestically and internationally—and has a reputation for high quality and safety standards across all stages of the supply chain—from the farm to consumers.

“Excluding wine grapes, our competitive horticultural industry is Australia’s third largest agricultural industry, behind meats and grains. For it to remain competitive, our growers need cutting edge research and efficient production technologies.”

Source: Australian Government

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