Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Stephanie Kerr
Research Associate in Horticultural Tree Genomics
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science
Associate Professor Peter Prentis
Associate Professor
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


Flowering is an important trait in horticultural tree crops as it ultimately influences yield. The genes involved in regulating flowering have been well characterised in model plants such as Arabidopsis but are relatively unexplored in many tree crops.

We are looking to examine whether flowering genes identified in Arabidopsis also regulate flowering in tree crops including avocado, mango and macadamia.

Research activities

You will analyse transgenic Arabidopsis lines overexpressing flowering genes from avocado, macadamia and/or mango by:

  • conducting in-depth phenotyping of the transgenic lines to determine which traits are affected by the flowering genes
  • extracting RNA from different tissues of the transgenic lines
  • performing qRT-PCR of flowering genes to explore how the flowering genes affect flowering genetic pathways.


The aim of this project is to determine whether the flowering genes investigated are involved in regulating flowering in horticultural tree crops. This will provide vital information to the field as it will extend our understanding of how flowering is regulated in horticultural tree crops which will help with breeding tree crops to improve yield.

Skills and experience

This project is suited to a student who enjoys working with plants in a lab setting. Ideally the candidate will have some molecular biology experience and can work both individually and in a team setting.



Contact the supervisor for more information.