Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 15:29 | Cite as

DNA paternity testing indicates unexpectedly high levels of self-fertilisation in macadamia

  • Kirsty S. Langdon
  • Graham J. King
  • Catherine J. NockEmail author
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mating systems


The recently domesticated nut crop macadamia is partially self-incompatible. Variation in the capacity for self-fertilisation is likely to have significant consequences, both for commercial nut production and the conservation of native populations. Molecular paternity testing using 11 microsatellite markers was conducted on open-pollinated seedling progeny of cultivar ‘741’, and mature kernel from eight different cultivars, seven of which have been used in previous self- and cross-pollination studies. The study was based in a varietal trial plot containing 40 different cultivars. Paternity was assigned to 92% of seedlings and 87% of kernel assessed. For four cultivars, selfing rates of 20–40% were detected. Estimates of relatedness between cultivars indicate a first-degree relationship between the two most widely grown cultivars in Australia, ‘741’ and ‘344’, at the level of full-sib or parent-offspring. Insight into the breeding system of macadamia is likely to have major implications for landscape and orchard-scale management. Our results point to significant differences in the capacity for self-fertilisation between cultivars and provide new molecular evidence of pollen flow under orchard conditions.


Paternity Microsatellites Macadamia Self-fertilisation 



Laboratory and horticultural support was provided by Asuka Kawamata, Tiffeny Byrnes and Alicia Hidden. Advice on statistical analysis was provided by Dr. Carolyn Raymond. The authors would like to thank Kim Wilson and Alex Yong for kindly providing access to the Clunes M2 RVT plot.

Funding information

This research was funded by the Hort Innovation project MC15008 Establishing an open-source platform for unravelling the genetics of Macadamia: integration of linkage and genome maps. The project provided a PhD scholarship for KL with funding from Hort Innovation, Knappick Foundation, Australian Macadamia Society, Macadamia Conservation Trust and Southern Cross University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors are not aware of any conflict of interest.

Data archiving statement

Supporting Data (Table S1 and S2) are included as additional online resources to the manuscript. All 15 SSR loci have been deposited in NCBI GenBank, and accession numbers are included in Table S1.

Supplementary material

11295_2019_1336_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary Table 1 (DOCX 13 kb)
11295_2019_1336_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (27 kb)
Supplementary Table 2 (XLSX 27.2 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Southern Cross Plant ScienceSouthern Cross UniversityLismoreAustralia

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