Melbourne: Scientists claim to have unlocked the genome of Australia's biggest Eucalyptus tree --the Flooded Gum.
The Flooded Gum is one of biggest flowering plants in the world, growing up to 85 metres tall, yet it has a relatively small genome of about 600 million letters of code -- about one fifth the length of the human genome.
An international team, led by by Prof Zander Myburg at University of Pretoria in South Africa, has, in fact, mapped the genetic code of a specimen of Flooded Gum from Brazil.
The team says their research would pave the way for new breeding, biofuel and conservation opportunities.
"This is one the biggest boosts to forest research in Australia that we have ever had," team member Prof Bill Foley at the Australian National University said.
He added: "Eucalyptus grandis is only the second forest tree to have its full genome mapped. It is an important tree in forests along the east coast of New South Wales and Queensland and a valuable fibre resource worldwide. It is also being considered for biofuel programs both here and overseas."
"This mapping is the first step to understanding the variety seen in Eucalyptus, allowing us to select the optimum trees for future environments."
First Published: Wednesday, July 27, 2011, 12:11