Forest Molecular Genetics

The Forest Molecular Genetics (FMG) Programme is an academic research programme in the Department of Genetics at the University of Pretoria. This Programme is part of the research portfolio of the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) and is hosted in the Forest Molecular Genetics Laboratory in the Department of Genetics. The FMG-programme is headed by Prof Zander Myburg.

The FMG programme makes use of various high-throughput technologies to investigate the molecular genetics of xylem development in fast-growing Eucalyptus and tropical pine tree species (e.g. Pinus patula). Focus areas of the programme include: gene discovery and functional genetics research (e.g. transcriptomics, metabolomics, wood microchemistry, plant transformation, yeast-1-hybrid and yeast-2-hybrid analyses); allele discovery (e.g. allele cloning, sequencing and SNP detection); and the development of molecular breeding tools for genetic improvement of targeted forest tree species (e.g. SSR and SNP marker analysis). We also employ the herbaceous model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, as a platform for the functional genetic analysis of candidate wood formation genes discovered in trees.

The majority of research activities in the FMG programme are funded as part of a joint research venture of the University of Pretoria, Sappi Forests and Mondi Business Paper South Africa. Additional financial support is provided by the Technology and Human Resources for Industry Programme (THRIP), the National Research Foundation of South Africa (NRF) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

For more information, contact Zander Myburg (zander.myburg[at]
Tel: +27 12 420 4945, Fax: +27 12 420 3947