Tree Genetics & Genomes

, 14:7 | Cite as

Prospects for increasing yield in macadamia using component traits and genomics

  • Katie O’Connor
  • Ben Hayes
  • Bruce Topp
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Breeding


Selection of candidate cultivars in macadamia requires extensive phenotypic measurements over many years and trials. In particular, yield traits such as nut-in-shell yield and kernel yield are economically vital characteristics and therefore guide the selection process for new cultivars. However, these traits can only be measured in mature trees, resulting in long generation intervals and slow rates of genetic gain. In addition, these traits are expensive to measure. Strategies to reduce the generation interval and increase the intensity of selection include using yield component traits, identification of markers associated with component traits, and genomic selection for yield. Yield component traits that contribute to resource availability for fruit formation include floral and nut characteristics. In this review, these traits will be investigated to estimate their relative importance in macadamia breeding and their heritability and correlations with yield. Furthermore, the usefulness of genome-wide association studies regarding yield component traits will be reviewed. Genetic-based breeding techniques could exploit this information to increase yield gains per breeding cycle and estimate the quantitative nature of yield traits. Genomic selection uses genome-wide molecular markers to predict the phenotype of individuals at an early age before maturity, thereby reducing the cycle time and increasing gain per unit time in plant breeding programmes. This review evaluates the potential for measurement of yield component traits, genome-wide association studies, and genomic selection to be employed in the Australian macadamia breeding programme to accelerate gains for nut yield.


Nut crop Breeding Perennial Genome-wide association study (GWAS) Genomic selection 



We are grateful to Drs Craig Hardner, Mobashwer Alam, Mark Dieters, Jodi Neal, Chris Menzel, and Robert Henry for their comments. Thanks to two reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions. Thanks also to Todd Fox for illustrations and Nik Nieuwenhuis for technical support.

Data archiving statement

There are no data in this review.

Funding information

This research has been funded by Hort Innovation Australia, using the Macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower-owned, not-for-profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture. KO received financial support from the Australian Postgraduate Award and Charles Morphett Peglar scholarship.


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland Alliance for Agriculture and Food InnovationUniversity of QueenslandSt LuciaAustralia

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