Eucalyptus tree genome deciphered


    Eucalyptus trees grow very fast and can deliver the necessary biomass for making these bioproducts. “Trees are advantageous when it comes to producing biomass. Unlike seasonal crops, they can be harvested year-round to supply a stable supply of biomass. In general they also don’t compete with food crops. In addition, wood processing is well established in the pulp and paper industry. Similar processing can be used to isolate the cellulose from the wood for biofuels and other products,” Prof Myburg explained.

    Pretoria, South Africa (SPX) May 16, 2011The key to the survival of forestry in South Africa as well as many new possibilities for renewable bioproducts like biofuels and biopolymers may now be available with the click of a mouse.
    This follows on a team of international researchers, led by Prof Zander Myburg from the Department of Genetics and the Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute (FABI) at the University of Pretoria (UP) – in collaboration with the US Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) – making available the complete genome sequence of the forest tree species, Eucalyptus grandis.
    It took the team, who had the support of a network of more than 130 Eucalyptus researchers from 18 countries, four years to complete the genome sequence and annotate more than 40,000 genes contained within it. According to Prof Myburg, these scientists, as well as countries with commercial eucalypt plantations will be the primary beneficiaries of the genome sequence now available on the internet (