Forestry and Biotechnology
The Forest Biotechnology Group is an integral part of the Forest Science Centre - a research and development alliance between The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport, and Resources (DEDJTR) and the University of Melbourne. This Group has been established with the support of DEDJTR's Forests Service and the Private Forestry Council of Victoria. It leads research into the molecular basis of tree development and uses the knowledge gained for the directed improvement of tree and wood characteristics by utilising biotechnology. The Group endeavours to ensure Victoria has an expanded and more internationally cost-competitive forest industry, while keeping in mind the concern of the wider community with regards to biological safety.
The Forest Biotechnology Group builds on the skills and genetic tools it has developed by drawing on its patented technologies. Currently, these technologies include target genes and promoter sequences as well as transformation techniques for in vitro wood, which reduce the time needed for analysis of gene and trans-gene activity in mature wood from 5-10 years to 2-3 months.
In general, the Group studies the basis of tree development and wood formation and participates in the genetic mapping of wood property traits for breeding purposes.
Novel tools are being developed for the manipulation of wood properties (including heartwood formation) and of whole trees. Further outcomes will include trees with genetically modified traits and improved whole tree regeneration systems. In collaboration with government, industry and community groups, the Group aims to assess the risks that might be associated with newly developed technologies.
Collaborators and partners in forest biotechnology research
- University of Melbourne - Department of Forestry
- State Forests of New South Wales
- Carter Holt Harvey - Forest Genetics, New Zealand
- Australian Paper Plantations
- Yates Forestry
- CSIRO - Forestry and Forest Products, Canberra
- CRC for Sustainable Production Forestry
- Monash University - Department of Biological Sciences
- Australian National University - Department of Forestry
- The Forest and Wood Products R&D Corporation
- The Australian Research Council