Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 

Cracking mānuka’s genetic code to mitigate myrtle rust

Cracking mānuka’s genetic code to mitigate myrtle rust

A nationwide science project that sequenced the mānuka genome and is now exploring its genetic diversity may be instrumental in protecting the indigenous plant from the fungal disease myrtle rust.

Using state-of-the-art genome sequencing technologies, scientists at Plant & Food Research, mapped mānuka’s genetic blueprint in 2015 and shared the information with tangata whenua and the New Zealand research community.

The research focus has since moved to using bioinformatic techniques to acquire a detailed understanding of the unique attributes of mānuka’s genetic stocks – the data have been gleaned from around 1000 samples of mānuka leaf collected nationwide in a collaboration with Landcare Research, the University of Waikato and key Māori partners.

The information generated is providing important scientific insights concerning the distribution and genetic diversity within and between mānuka populations in New Zealand.

“A key objective of the project has always been to understand how genetic material is exchanged between mānuka populations by pollen and seed dispersal to help whānau and hapū, and the honey industry, to develop unique stories around provenance, and help ensure genetic variation for conservation purposes,” says Plant & Food Research Science Group Leader Dr David Chagné.

“With the arrival of myrtle rust on the New Zealand mainland, we soon realised the need for an additional and more specific conservation application for the project.

“While it’s not clear just what effect myrtle rust will have on mānuka under New Zealand conditions, we should expect differences in susceptibility and resistance across the mānuka populations.

“By using the latest technologies for DNA sequencing and new methodologies for bioinformatic data analysis we can determine which parts of the genome are associated with tolerance.

“This will help us to better predict the potential damage from myrtle rust and determine how fast the various mānuka populations will respond to the disease.

“The data will assist with guiding research priorities for maintaining and protecting diversity in mānuka,” says Dr Chagné.

Research outcomes from the project are expected to be released between June and August this year.

“The project is a great example of collaboration between Māori landowners, two Crown Research Institutes and a university to provide real benefit to both the industry and the environment,” says the project lead Dr Gary Houliston of Landcare Research.

The Māori organisations assisting with stakeholder engagement and commercial support in the project are Ngati Porou Miere, Tuhoe Tuawhenua Trust, Atihau-Whanganui, Taitokerau Miere and Tai Tokerau Honey. The project is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Fund For PPP Plans: Govt Embraces Targeted Rates To Spur Urban Infrastructure

The government's latest response to the Auckland housing shortage will see central government and private sector firms invest in 'special purpose vehicles' to fund essential roading, water and drains that Auckland Council can't fund without threatening its credit rating. More>>

ALSO:

Superu Report: Land Regulation Drives Auckland House Prices

Land use regulation is responsible for up to 56 per cent of the cost of an average house in Auckland according to a new research report quantifying the impact of land use regulations, Finance Minister Steven Joyce says. More>>

ALSO:

Fletcher Whittled: Fletcher Dumps Adamson In Face Of Dissatisfaction

Fletcher Building has taken the unusual step of dumping its chief executive, Mark Adamson, as the company slashed its full-year earnings guidance and flagged an impairment against Australian assets. More>>

ALSO:

No More Dog Docking: New Animal Welfare Regulations Progressed

“These 46 regulations include stock transport, farm husbandry, companion and working animals, pigs, layer hens and the way animals are accounted for in research, testing and teaching.” More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Most Kiwifruit Contractors Breaking Law

A Labour Inspectorate operation targeting the kiwifruit industry in Bay of Plenty has found the majority of labour hire contractors are breaching their obligations as employers. More>>

ALSO: