Genetics of superior growth traits in trees are being mapped but will the faster-growing risk-taker make it in the wild?

Nasholm, T., Palmroth, S., Ganeteg, U., Moshelion, M., Hurry, V., & Franklin, O. ORCID: (2014). Genetics of superior growth traits in trees are being mapped but will the faster-growing risk-taker make it in the wild? Tree Physiology 34 (11) 1141-1148. 10.1093/treephys/tpu112.

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Increased biomass production of trees is a research field of great contemporary interest. Estimates of future needs for production of fibre, wood and biofuel suggest a need for significantly increased production in forests (Ragauskas et al. 206). This demand can only be met through increased productivity and/or resource utilization efficiency of tree crops. That is, we must explore the potential to optimize the genetic makeup of trees to achieve greater productivity in their growing environments.

Since the introduction of molecular biology in plant sciences, the interest in genetic improvement of both agricultural and tree crops has been increasing and is currently one of the most intense areas of plant research. At the same time, tree and stand growth have been studied within (and across) the fields of ecophysiology, ecology, silviculture and forest management. This work has resulted in statistical and process-based models that relate tree growth to availability of various resources, and that thus can inform management (Landsberg and Waring 1997). Process-based growth models have been developed largely independent of the expanding knowledge base in molecular biology and the findings that tree growth can be directly improved through genetic alterations of specific processes such as lignin synthesis, frost hardiness and nitrogen (N) assimilation (Ragauskas et al. 2006, Ye et al. 2011). Similarly, we have underutilized the potential for ecological theories and growth models to guide breeding programmes by predicting the performance of genetically altered trees in the field. This 'Invited issue' is designed to stimulate research targeted at explicitly linking molecular understanding and tools and growth of forest stands.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Bibliographic Reference: Tree Physiology; 34(11):1141-1148 (November 2014) (Published online 19 December 2014)
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 08:50
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 17:23

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