The Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme, headed by Prof Zander Myburg, is based at the University of Pretoria's Department of Genetics and is affiliated with the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI). Our research focuses on the genetic control of wood development in fast-growing plantation trees, primarily Eucalyptus and tropical pines grown in South Africa. We utilise a number of research and technology platforms, namely: tree genomics; high-throughput DNA marker analysis; functional genetics; as well as wood pheno­typing. We work in close collaboration with South African forestry companies, such as Sappi and Mondi, to develop capacity and resources for the application of tree biotechnology in operational tree improvement programmes. This research is supported by grants from the National Research Foundation (NRF), the Tech­nology and Human capacity for Industry Programme (THRIP) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) of South Africa.

Current projects include:

  1. Population Genomics - Genomic mapping of growth and wood quality traits in Eucalyptus hybrids, genome-wide SNP marker discovery and genotyping in Eucalyptus, and system genetics analysis of cellulose and xylan biosynthesis in Eucalyptus;
  2. Functional Genomics - Carbohydrate active enzyme (CAZyme) genes involved in wood formation in Eucalyptus, and transcriptome-wide prediction of xylem proteome variation in Eucalyptus;
  3. Functional Genetics - Functional analysis of secondary cell wall (SCW) transcriptional network in Eucalyptus, and functional genetics of the SCW related proteins of unknown function.


FMG Brochure 2015 Edition


New Publications

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Roodt D, Lohaus R, Sterck L, Swanepoel RL, Van de Peer Y, Mizrachi E. (2017) Evidence for an ancient whole genome duplication in the cycad lineage. PLOS ONE 12(9):e0184454. 10.1371/journal.pone.0184454
Amuge T, Berger DK, Katari MS, Myburg AA, Goldman SL, Ferguson ME. (2017) A time series transcriptome analysis of cassava (Manihot esculenta Crantz) varieties challenged with Ugandan cassava brown streak virus. Scientific Reports 7:9747. 10.1038/s41598-017-09617-z
McTaggart AR, Shuey LS, Granados GM, du Plessis E, Fraser S, Barnes I, Naidoo S, Wingfield MJ, Roux J. (2017) Evidence that Austropuccinia psidii may complete its sexual life cycle on Myrtaceae. Plant Pathology 10.1111/ppa.12763
Nzuki I, Katari MS, Bredeson JV, Masumba E, Kapinga F, Salum K, Mkamilo GS, Shah T, Lyons JB, Rokhsar DS, Rounsley S, Myburg AA, Ferguson ME. (2017) QTL Mapping for Pest and Disease Resistance in Cassava and Coincidence of Some QTL with Introgression Regions Derived from Manihot glaziovii. Frontiers in Plant Science 8(1168) 10.3389/fpls.2017.01168
Masumba EA, Kapinga F, Mkamilo G, Salum K, Kulembeka H, Rounsley S, Bredeson JV, Lyons JB, Rokhsar DS, Kanju E, Katari MS, Myburg AA, van der Merwe NA, Ferguson ME. (2017) QTL associated with resistance to cassava brown streak and cassava mosaic diseases in a bi-parental cross of two Tanzanian farmer varieties, Namikonga and Albert. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 10.1007/s00122-017-2943-z