David Luckett

Research interests

  • Developing new germplasm of canola (Brassica napus) for a range of key traits: Blackleg resistance, drought tolerance, frost tolerance, flowering time, resistance to shattering, and grain quality.
  • Developing rapid screening technologies for the key traits e.g. remote sensing.
  • Gaining an improved understanding of the physiology and genetics behind the key traits.
  • Collaborating on the phenotyping and genotyping of canola populations leading to the development of molecular markers linked to the genes controlling the key traits.


Dr Luckett spent four years at CSIROs cotton breeding program before moving to Wagga Wagga Agricultural Institute to work on tissue culture for plant breeding. He worked on somaclonal variation in barley and then doubled haploids, producing the first doubled-haploid variety in Australia Tantangara barley. This work was extended to wheat and then canola.

Dr Luckett led the GRDC-funded lupin breeding program at Wagga Wagga from 1996 to 2008, breeding both albus lupins and narrow-leaf lupins. The program released the narrow-leaf variety Jindalee, and Luxor and Rosetta - the first albus varieties with Pleiochaeta Root Rot resistance and much higher yield.

Various albus lupin genetic and genomic projects were also undertaken, particularly in plant pathology. This work has involved two honours students, and two current PhD students. Dr Luckett is also involved in the selection of improved spelt varieties and the development of agronomic recommendations for spelt.

In 2009 Dr Luckett took responsibility for the GRDC-funded National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Program (NBGIP) also known as: canola pre-breeding.


  • B.Sc.Hons. (Genetics & Botany) University of Sheffield (UK) 1979
  • M.Phil. (Plant Breeding) University of Cambridge (UK) 1980
  • PhD (Barley population genetics) University of Cambridge (UK) 1983

Current projects

  • National Brassica Germplasm Improvement Program (NBGIP)

Recent publications

  • Gan MJT, Ash GJ, Cowley RB, Savocchia S, Luckett DJ (2009) Genetic variation of Pleiochaeta setosa from Lupinus albus. Australasian Plant Pathology 38: 1-7.
  • Lin RM, Renshaw D, Luckett D, Clements J, Yan GJ, Adhikari K, Buirchell B, Sweetingham M, Yang HA (2009) Development of a sequence-specific PCR marker linked to the gene "pauper'' conferring low-alkaloids in white lupin (Lupinus albus L.) for marker assisted selection. Molecular Breeding 23, 153-161.
  • Luckett D, Cowley R, Richards M, Roberts D (2009) Breeding Lupinus albus for resistance to the root pathogen Pleiochaeta setosa. European Journal of Plant Pathology 125: 131-141.
  • Wunderlich N, Ash GJ, Harper JDI, Cowley RB, Luckett DJ (2008) Penetration and symptom development of Pleiochaeta root rot in susceptible and resistant Lupinus albus cultivars. Australasian Plant Pathology 37: 387-391.
  • Chen Y, Lee LS, Luckett DJ, Henry R, Hill H, Edwards M (2007) A quinolizidine alkaloid O-tigloyltransferase gene in wild and domesticated white lupin (Lupinus albus). Annals of Applied Biology 151: 357-362.
  • Lemerle D, Gill GS, Murphy CE, Walker SR, Cousens RD, Mokhtari S, Peltzer SJ, Coleman R, Luckett DJ (2001) Genetic improvement and agronomy for enhanced wheat competitiveness with weeds. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research 52: 527-548.

Fields of research

  • 070305 Crop and Pasture Improvement (Selection and Breeding)

Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification (ANZSRC)