Why are some trees defended against herbivores and others not? Even when they grow right next to each other? Is it because of variations in soils or are genetic factors more important?
We are studying the genetic basis of chemical defense against herbivores Myrtaceae family (eucalypts and tea trees). We take a multidisciplinary approach, including traditional quantitative genetics, marker-based studies in natural populations, QTL mapping and molecular genetics. Current questions include, the molecular biology of terpene chemotypes in oil mallees and tea trees and association genetics of variation in quantitative traits of plant defense in trees. We are closely involved with the annotation and structure of the Eucalyptus genome, which provides an excellent resource for understanding how defense and other traits of trees are organized.
Papers from this work
- Padovan, A, Keszei, A, Wallis, IR, Foley WJ (2012) Mosaic eucalypt trees suggest genetic control at a point that influences several metabolic pathways. Journal of Chemical Ecology 38:914-23
- Grattapaglia D, Vaillancourt R, Shepherd M, Thumma B, Foley WJ, Kulheim C, Potts B, Myburg A (2011) Myrtaceae genomics: Eucalyptus as the pivotal genus. Tree Genetics and Genomes 8:463-508
- Kulheim C, Yeoh SH, Wallis IR, Laffan S, Moran GF, Foley WJ (2011) The molecular basis of quantitative variation in foliar secondary metabolites in Eucalyptus globulus. New Phytologist 191:1043-1051 (PDF, 1.3 MB)
- Wallis, I.R., Keszei, A., Henery, M., Moran, G.F., Maintz, J., Marsh, K.J., Forrester, R., Andrew, R.L. and Foley, W.J. (2011): A chemical perspective on the evolution of variation in Eucalyptus globulus. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 13, 305-318
- Keszei, A, Brubaker, CL, Köllner, T, Degenhardt, J and Foley WJ (2010) Functional and evolutionary relationships between terpene synthases from Australian Myrtaceae. Phytochemistry 71:844–852 (PDF, 1 MB)
- Külheim C, Yeoh SH, Maintz J Foley WJ Moran GF (2009) Comparative SNP diversity among four Eucalyptus species for genes from secondary metabolite biosynthetic pathways. BMC Genomics 10:452
- Henery ML, Moran GF, Foley WJ (2007) Identification of quantitative trait loci influencing foliar concentrations of terpenes and formylated phloroglucinol compounds in Eucalyptus nitens. New Phytologist 176:82-95
- Andrew RL, Peakall R, Wallis IR, Wood JT, Knight EJ, Foley WJ (2005) Can marker-based quantitative genetics in the wild be successful? Heritability and genetic correlation of chemical defences in Eucalyptus. Genetics 171:1989-1998