Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Patterns of Genetic Diversity and Nature of the Breeding System in Melaleuca alternifolia (Myrtaceae)

PA Butcher, JC Bell and GF Moran

Australian Journal of Botany 40(3) 365 - 375
Published: 1992


Melaleuca alternifolia (Maiden & Betche) Cheel is harvested from natural stands and plantations for production of Australian tea-tree oil. Genetic variation was examined and outcrossing rates estimated to provide baseline information for breeding and selection programs. The overall genetic diversity (HT = 0.186) is comparable to other regionally distributed Australian tree species. There was a general trend for more isolated populations to have less genetic variation than populations from the centre of the species distribution. The level of differentiation among populations was low (12%), associated with a high outcrossing rate (93%) and high levels of gene flow. Geographic separation of Queensland and New South Wales populations corresponds with genetic distance measures.

© CSIRO 1992

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