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Leucaena DNA profiling

Project start date: 27 July 2015
Project end date: 20 April 2016
Publication date: 28 January 2016
Project status: Completed
Livestock species: Grassfed cattle
Relevant regions: National
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​In beef producing areas of northern Australia with average rainfall > 800 mm the production of commercial leucaena (Leucaena leucocephala ssp glabrata) can be significantly affected by the leucaena psyllid (Heteropsylla cubana).  Consequently, in 2002 an MLA-supported breeding program (B.NBP.307 and B.NBP.0610, Shelton, Dalzell, Lambrides) was initiated to develop psyllid-resistant leucaena from genetic material derived from a psyllid-resistant wild relative L. pallida.  

Key findings

A psyllid resistant variety has now been developed and seed has been distributed to two commercial partners, (Leucseeds Pty Ltd and Bandana Station, Carnarvon pastoral) for commercialisation and distribution. The purpose of the project reported here was to provide a DNA profile of the new psyllid variety named 'Redlands' (BL12) and compare it to other psyllid resistant leucaenas (BL24, BL34, BL39), and two commercial cultivars Wondergraze and Cunningham. The DNA profile will assist the seed companies, MLA and UQ secure a level of protection over the new pysyllid resistant leucaena. Using 426 DNA markers scored among the different leucaena lines, a dendrogram (family tree) showed that Redlands had a unique DNA profile that was distinct from other psyllid resistant breeding lines BL24, 34, 39 and from commercial leucaena cultivars Wondergraze and Cunningham.

More information

Project manager: Amanda McAlpine
Primary researcher: University of Queensland