Myrtaceae is one of the chemically most variable and most significant essential oil yielding plant families. Despite an abundance of chemical information, very little work has focussed on the biochemistry of terpene production in these plants. We describe 70 unique partial terpene synthase transcripts and eight full-length cDNA clones from 21 myrtaceous species, and compare phylogenetic relationships and leaf oil composition to reveal clades defined by common function. We provide further support for the correlation between function and phylogenetic relationships by the first functional characterisation of terpene synthases from Myrtaceae: a 1,8-cineole synthase from Eucalyptus sideroxylon and a caryophyllene synthase from Eucalyptusdives.
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