Ms Melissa Reynolds
|DNA Fingerprinting Team Manager|
After completing a BSc (Hons) Genetics degree at the University of Pretoria I joined the Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme to work in the DNA fingerprinting platform. We work alongside our industry partners with the aim of complementing tree improvement research by providing a high-throughput DNA fingerprinting service for commercially grown eucalypt and pine species in South Africa. I have been a part of this team since 2008 and took up my current role as the manager in 2012. I am also currently involved in the ICFR’s Gene Conservation working group and I am the project co-ordinator for the Genome Diversity Atlas Project at FMG. Through this project we aim to investigate genetic diversity and population substructure in the natural species range of various eucalypt and pine species of interest to the South African forestry industry. The information gained through this project can be applied to develop molecular marker tools for tree improvement and will form the basis for future expansion into the exciting field of landscape genomics.
I also recently completed a part-time MSc degree at the University of Pretoria which focussed on applying SNP markers to construct genetic linkage maps and to gain a better understanding of genetic diversity in cassava (Manihot esculenta). A key output of my MSc was the development of a molecular breeding tool for routine genotyping of cassava germplasm for breeding purposes and to better manage the conservation of cassava genetic resources in germplasm collections.