College of Forestry

Forest Biotechnology Laboratory

GREAT TREES Coop research goals

Transformation and regeneration are major obstacles to research and commercial use of most types of genetically engineered trees, including eucalypts. We seek to make a major advance in this area by applying developmental genes such as WUSCHEL (among many other candidates). These have been extremely successful in monocots but require substantial adaptation for organogenic systems and angiosperm crop trees.

Expected research activities:

  1. Using transcriptome, bioinformatics, and scientific literature searches, identify genes whose expression is likely to significantly influence the rate of in vitro regeneration or transformation (RT) of tree cells.
  2. Create constructs using one or more genes identified in 1. above that are expected to influence RT, and which generally contain reporter genes that facilitate recognition and quantification.
  3. Test the effects of these genes in vitro or in vivo using eucalypt or as a comparator poplar plant tissues, and characterize the kind and frequency of responses.
  4. Develop and test accessory technology to control and limit RT-modifying gene expression, such as promoters, insulators, inducers, and recombinases.
  5. Develop and test accessory technology that is likely to affect RT, such as various growth media and transformation treatments.
  6. Adapt and test the technology used to control RT genes for the improvement and removal of gene editing elements, such as CRISPR/Cas systems.