Biotech Updates

Black Cottonwood Improvement through Population Genomics

January 14, 2015

A collaborative study to improve the environmental adaptation of trees through breeding is being implemented  by scientists from Virginia Tech and West Virginia University. This was conducted by identifying the gene sequences of black cottonwood (Populus trichocerma). Black cottonwood cuttings were also planted in research plots located in California and British Columbia. This aims to determine the effect of environment in black cottonwood's growth.

Their study identified two related genes, FT1 and FT2. FT1 is involved in the regulation of the transition to flowering while FT2 gene controls fall growth cessation and bud set. An additional function of FT1 in the release of winter dormancy was revealed through population genomics data. This data also shows the association of genetic variation in FT2 with variation of time of fall bud set. This finding will help in developing a more environment adapted tree.

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