Ms Melissa Reynolds

Precision Tree Breeding Platform Manager


Biochemistry, Genetics and Microbiology
Short CV
Full CV
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Research Profiles

My Links

I am the manager of the Precision Tree Breeding Platform of the Forest Molecular Genetics Programme ( I provide oversight to the Platform, and I am involved in development of new services and training of staff and students associated with the Platform. I joined the Forest Molecular Genetics Programme in 2008 after completing my BSc Human Genetics and BSc (Hons) Genetics degrees at the University of Pretoria. While managing the Platform, I also completed my part-time MSc Genetics degree at the University of Pretoria which focused on applying SNP markers to construct genetic linkage maps and to gain a better understanding of genetic diversity in cassava (Manihot esculenta).

Through the Precision Tree Breeding Platform we aim to make DNA marker technologies available to the forestry and macadamia industries in South Africa, and we are continually looking to expand into other tree crops. DNA markers, such as microsatellite markers and single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) can be applied to molecular breeding, tree improvement research, and routine quality control in breeding and propagation programs to increase accuracy, reduce the effects of human error, and improve genetic gains. 

Our Platform has been operational since 2008 and in that time we have generated DNA fingerprints for over 92 000 trees, consisting predominantly of forest tree species. To meet the growing demand for our service we opened a High-throughput DNA Extraction Facility in 2021, funded by the Department of Science and Innovation and the Technology Innovation Agency. The facility consists of a GenoGrinder for high-throughput sample homogenization, an oKtopureTM DNA Extraction Robot with the ability to process 768 samples a day, and a cryogenic Biobank with the capacity to store up to 96 000 samples long-term. Using this facility we currently process approximately 12 000 samples annually with the potential to increase as needed. We have also been expanding our expertise to include DNA extractions from many different tissue types such as insects, pollen, nuts and various plant species.


Export to RIS
Candotti J, Christie N, Ployet R, Mostert-O’Neill MM, Reynolds SM, Neves LG, Naidoo S, Mizrachi E, Duong TA, Myburg AA. (2023) Haplotype mining panel for genetic dissection and breeding in Eucalyptus. The Plant Journal 113:174-185. 10.1111/tpj.16026
Jackson C, Christie N, Reynolds SM, Marais GC, Tii-kuzu Y, Caballero M, Kampman T, Visser EA, Naidoo S, Kain D, Whetten RW, Isik F, Wegrzyn J, Hodge GR, Acosta JJ, Myburg AA. (2021) A genome- wide SNP genotyping resource for tropical pine tree species. Molecular Ecology Resources 10.1111/1755-0998.13484 PDF
Mostert-O'Neill MM, Reynolds SM, Acosta JJ, Lee DJ, Borevitz JO, Myburg AA. (2020) Genomic evidence of introgression and adaptation in a model subtropical tree species, Eucalyptus grandis. Molecular Ecology 00(00):1-14. 10.1111/mec.15615 PDF
Mphahlele MM, Isik F, Mostert-O'Neill MM, Reynolds SM, Hodge GR, Myburg AA. (2020) Expected benefits of genomic selection for growth and wood quality traits in Eucalyptus grandis. Tree Genetics & Genomes 16(49) 10.1007/s11295-020-01443-1