WP Leader: Dr. Michele MORGANTE (Istituto di Genomica Applicata)
The aim of WP3 is to apply the biotechnological tools developed in the project to produce superior trees for bioenergy production.
Workpackage 1 and 2 will identify the genetic determinants of yield under SRC regime and of wood quality for saccharification, respectively. Here these tools will be deployed to produce improved trees. The knowledge of which genes control the traits of interest gained in these workpackages will be exploited in two different ways: either by utilizing existing natural variation to identify useful combinations of these genes by means of marker assisted selection or by generating new variation by producing transgenic trees carrying a combination of transgenes (gene stacking). Finally we will try to address the identification of superior combinations of parental trees to produce highly productive F1 hybrids by developing whole genome DNA profiles and correlate them with hybrid performance. In order to get a jump start with this workpackage we will initially focus on genes already known to affect wood quality to develop marker assisted selection procedures (using the CAD gene initially) and will make transgene combinations. We will later on start to utilize the genes identified in WP1 and WP2.
Given the time constraints of the project (4 years) and the long generation times of the species some of the activities carried out in this workpackage will represent pre-breeding activities rather than breeding activities but will provide proofs of concept that will then be transferred to breeding.