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Priming: an alternative strategy for faster resistance induction in forest tree species
“Priming” allows resistance induction without use of repeated crossing cycles and no changes in the genomic constitution are required. Hence, this method represents a strategy for improving performance of valuable so-called plus trees.
Increasing levels of biotic and abiotic stress are expected in world forests due to climate change. Therefore, the development of efficient strategies allowing resistance induction in forest tree species is paramount.
The potential of forest tree breeding on the induction of stress resistance is strongly limited by the long generation time of tree species. “Priming” could represent an alternative approach as it has been successfully used before in both annual and perennial plants for resistance induction. An epigenetic background for priming-induced resistance and its heritability could be confirmed already in several cases.
“Priming” allows resistance induction without use of repeated crossing cycles and no changes in the genomic constitution are required. Hence, this method represents a strategy for improving performance of valuable so-called plus trees preserving their genomic structure. This method has the potential to promote a more efficient adaptation of the local forests to climate change, avoiding at the same time loss of gene pool.
The long-term survival of ash and elm populations in Germany is strongly affected by the introduction of non-native fungi illnesses. In the frame of this research project, several “Priming” approaches will be tested with the aim of improving resistance in both tree species.
Young plants and seeds will be used for this study. Afterwards, different resistance tests will be carried out with the treated plants. Selected plants will be further studied using MSAP („methylation sensitive amplified polymorphism“) and qPCRs. This approach aims finding correlations between priming induced resistance and epigenetic changes. Furthermore, the stability of the induced resistance will be studied at different periods of time. A field experiment with the obtained plants is planned for a second project phase.
4.2017 - 3.2020
Project funding number: 28WB408101
Funding program: Waldklimafonds (Programmbestandteil des Sondervermögens Energie- und Klimafonds)
Project status: ongoing