Application of molecular genetics to improvement of yield in oil mallees


This project has two parts; 1) This project aims to use recent discoveries of genes in the terpene biosynthetic pathway to develop markers that could be used to select oil mallees (in particular Eucalyptus loxophleba) to have an increased foliar cineole concentration. Based on work in other species we can identify a series of candidate genes that are likely to control aspects of oil yield. These genes are deoxyxylulose synthase (DXS) and deoxyxylulose phosphate reductoisomerase (DXR); isopentenyl diphosphate isomerase (IPPI), and geranyl pyrophosphate synthases (GPPS) involved in synthesising the universal substrates for all monoterpene production. We aim to clone these genes, and using a unique association genetics experiment that we have already established, we will identify common variants that are associated with variations in oil yield and design diagnostic markers that will enable plants with these variants to be selected early. 2) We will also address the issue of declining research capacity in the essential oil industry by i) conducting an audit of chemical capability and ii) establishing a national workshop in plant volatile chemistry and biology that is open to students and industry participants.


New and Emerging Plant Industries

Research Organisation

Australian National University

Objective Summary

The project aims to (i) identify gene variants associated with enhanced yield in Eucalyptus loxophleba (ii) conduct an audit of research capacity and in particular chemical analytical skills for essential oils in Australia and (iii) Conduct National Workshops in “Plant Volatile Chemistry, Biology and Analysis” to enhance skills in the industry

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Project Completion Date

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

Frontier technologies for building and transforming Australian industries

National Priority

Advanced Technology

National Priority

NEPI-Industry building and connectivity