Koojong (Acacia saligna), a species with potential as a perennial forage for dryland salinity management - genetic variation, feed quality and reproductive biology

Nicholas George

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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    [Truncated] Australia Acacia can produce a range of useful products and are well adapted to the southern agricultural regions of the continent. For this reason they have potential to be utilized as perennial crops which may then aid in salinity management. Acacia saligna has been identified as a species with particularly good potential to be developed as a crop, due to favourable characteristics such as fast growth rates and tolerance to harsh environmental conditions. However the species has high morphological variation and low forage quality, both of which limit its commercial potential. The aim of this research was: To determine the level and distribution of genetic variation in A. saligna using nuclear RFLPs, to examine variation in feed quality within A. saligna, using NIRS and in vitro analysis, to determine the level of out crossing in natural populations of A. saligna using an allozyme analysis of progeny arrays and to study the floral biology, pollen viability, pollen storage and reproductive output of A. saligna.

    Genetic structure within A. saligna was investigated in populations across the geographic range of the species using nuclear RFLP loci. The analysis identified considerable genetic variation, within A. saligna, that was genetically structured into three groups. Two of the three groups corresponded to intraspecific morphological variants that have been recognized, while the third group encompassed two other variants which, though morphologically different, were not genetically differentiated. The level of genetic differentiation between the groups was high, which suggests they may represent different taxa, and a taxonomic revision of the species may be required. Variation in economically important characters, such as growth form and suckering, has been ascribed to the variants so they will need to be evaluated separately to determine their suitability for agroforestry. The high genetic variation between and within groups suggests there is a large genetic base available for breeding improved cultivars.
    Original languageEnglish
    QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
    Awarding Institution
    • The University of Western Australia
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2005

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