IAB Research Project Description

Tools and Resources for Plant Genome Research: Association Mapping and Comparative Population Genomics of Adaptation in Poplar

Matt Olson on collecting trip to the North Slope to collect genotypes from some of the only stands of trees north of the Brooks Range. Credit: Photo courtesy of Matt Olson/IAB

Any and all uses of these images must include photographer credit.

Populus species are economically, ecologically and environmentally important; they are harvested for paper pulp and particle board production, and hold potential for playing important roles in carbon dioxide (CO2) biosequestration and biofuel production. Moreover, Populus is the model organism for hardwood tree genomics and physiology. Population genetic tools needed to conduct association mapping and understand evolutionary history are not, however, available for any Populus species. We propose to develop these tools for Populus balsamifera, use them to conduct an association mapping study designed to identify the genetic basis for phenotypic variation in bud set (an important determinant of cold adaptation and growth rate), and use comparative population genomic analyses to test whether the same nucleotides and genes are responsible for phenotypic variation and adaptive evolution of bud set in North American P. balsamifera and European P. tremula. Development of these genomic tools and the association mapping will be accomplished through collaboration with Canadian researchers at the AAFC-PRFA Shelterbelt Centre who are establishing long-term common gardens of P. balsamifera. These common gardens will be maintained as a long term resource and are available to the wider scientific community; therefore, the data we generate will greatly facilitate future association analyses on additional traits (wood density, drought tolerance, etc.). The comparative population genomic analyses of adaptation to northern latitudes will be accomplished through collaboration with Dr. P. Ingvarsson, University of Umea, Sweden, who is conducting complementary studies in the European aspen (P. tremula).

Project Funding

National Science Foundation
$1,687,757.00
1 Jul 2007 – 30 Jun 2011
IAB Proposal #07-019
UAF Grant #G3962
IAB Project #148


Media Contact

Marie Thoms
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Institute of Arctic Biology
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email: methoms@alaska.edu
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