Development of an early flowering system for poplar breeding and biosafety research
During development, plants change from a juvenile to an adult phase of vegetative growth and from a reproductively incompetent to a competent phase. Probably one of the most promising prospects offered by genetic engineering of forest trees is on overcoming their prolonged phase of reproductive incompetence.
Whereas annual plants have a one-year life cycle including flowering and senescence, tree species produce flowers only after several years of reproductive incompetence. This phase, which is quite variable lasting in some tree species until 40 years, has impeded the development of forest tree breeding. Even though substantial breeding progress has been made with intensively bred pines, poplars, eucalypts and a few other taxa, forest tree ‘cultivars’ can still be considered as nearly ‘wild plants’ with few if any of the hallmarks of crop domestication. This project aims therefore to generate a more efficient and reliable system for the induction of flowering in poplar.
Early flowering would be very valuable to forest tree breeding and biosafety research on genetic containment. Several approaches will be tested using gene stacking of FTi and flower meristem/organ identity genes. Early flowering and growth performance of the different transgenic lines, as well as gene expression of selected poplar FTi and meristem/organ identity genes will be evaluated.
8.2000 - 12.2023
Project status: ongoing