Horticulture is a highly valuable industry within the Australian agricultural sector. Tree crops account for half of the horticulture industry’s value, with mango, macadamia, avocado, almond and citrus being the major Australian horticultural tree crops. The goal is to help the horticulture industry and improve global food security. New management and breeding strategies, as well as intensive production systems, can maintain profitability in a changing global market. A deeper understanding of the relationship between a crops phenotype and underlying genetic mechanisms has the potential to offer new tools and opportunities to efficiently address current and future needs of the Australian horticulture industries.
The Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment (HIE) within Western Sydney University is looking for a highly motivated and qualified candidate for a 3-year PhD program of research to commence in 2019. This studentship is part of a new research program established under National Tree Genomics Program – Genotype Prediction Toolbox. Aims are to establish annotation, allelic diversity and functional characterisation of key genes involved in advancing plant productivity to drive the selection of desirable traits. Tools and technologies need to be developed to understand the function of gene traits valuable to Australian horticulture
This project aims to develop new tools and technologies to advance functional genomics. We will develop new viral induced gene silencing systems to transiently silence genes involved in the control of carotenoid secondary metabolism, development, flowering, and tree architecture. Gene function will be validated using Arabidopsis as a model organism. The end goal is to establish rapid flowering tree crops and advance breeding programs to identify genetic traits involved in disease resistance, precocious flowering, nutrition and that increase yield and cropping density.
The position is based at the Hawkesbury Campus of Western Sydney University, Richmond, NSW. Our collaborating partners are Queensland University of Technology, University of Queensland and Department of Primary Industries.