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Institute of

FG Forest Genetics



Development and use of novel gene technologies to increase biomass yield in the woody perennial Populus spec

Theadopted"energy revolution"presentsnewchallengestoresearchinGermany.Energyshouldincreasinglycomefromrenewable energy sources,butideallydo notcompetewithfood production.Fast-growingpoplarscancomparativelyeasygrown on agricultural areas,however, harbor anenormousgrowth potentialthatcould beexploitedwithgreenbiotechnology.

Background and Objective

The objective of the work is the generation of qualitatively optimized poplar plants with increased biomass, altered lignin content and optimized plant architecture. This will be achieved by the genetic modification of genomic regulators for tree biomass yield, changes of lignin biosynthesis and alterations of branching patterns.


Biomass production can be increased by genes involved e.g. in vegetative growth capacity, vascular cambium activity, and secondary cell wall formation. The ThünenInstituteofforest genetics is workingwithpreviouslyunknowngenesthat are expressed inwoodas well asinpoplar flowers. Withchanges in thesegenes, theirfunctionandtheirimpactonthebiomass productionshouldbeelucidated inpoplars. The formation of higher biomass levels ingeneticallymodifiedtrees could beastarting pointforlegislationthat wouldallowtocoverapart ofrenewableenergywithgeneticallyimprovedtrees.Thisis ethicallyacceptable and makes economicallysense.

Involved external Thünen-Partners

Funding Body

  • Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
    (national, öffentlich)


3.2012 - 12.2018

More Information

Project status: finished


  1. 0

    Brügmann T, Polak O, Deecke K, Nietsch J, Fladung M (2019) Poplar transformation. Meth Mol Biol 1864:165-177

  2. 1

    Brügmann T, Fladung M (2016) Flowering time genes influence biomass production in poplars. In: Hensel G (ed) Annual meeting : new breeding technologies in times of politically enforces research prohibition ; German Society of Plant Biotechnology e.V. ; book of abstracts ; Gatersleben, 02.-04.05.2016. Gatersleben: Gesellschaft für Pflanzenbiotechnologie, p 23

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