FPS Action COST E28
Genosilva : European Forest Genomics Network
Descriptions are provided by the Actions directly via e-COST.
COST Action E28 aimed at capitalising on the substantial genome resource that has been developed for model tree species like poplar or pine and to use this knowledge to develop new tools and biotechnology to enhance forest productivity and durable forest health. Furthermore, the Action initiated an active dialogue with forestry practitioners, including tree breeders, forest managers and policy makers in order to discuss the needs and requirements for new tools to enhance forest productivity and forest health. An important objective of the Action was to use knowledge generated by basic plant science as well as by experts working on model species for studying less well investigated species of the forest tree sector. The cDNA micro array technique was applied successfully in analysing the particular aspects of wood formation. Micro arrays constructed by using gene sequences (ESTs ; Expressed Sequence Tags) from closely related species such as white oaks (Quercus), chestnut (Castanea) and poplar (Populus) as well as ESTs from special cork oak cDNA libraries were used to study cork and phellem formation in cork oak (Quercus suber) and Quercus ilex. Those studies showed that homologous as well as heterologous targets were revealing informative results on genes involved in cork production in oaks. The same approach was used to analyse aspects of forest health, in particular to investigate differential expression of candidate genes in poplar exposed to drought. The results are demonstrating that heterologous gene collections on micro arrays, and thus knowledge from model species, are applicable for expression analysis across species borders. In another effort, a new technology established for the human genome for the detection of methylated DNA sites could be transferred to plants for the investigation of developmental differences in tissues such as needles or buds as well as maturation differences in tissue generated during in vitro propagation of trees. The technique was successfully applied to chestnut and pine to detect tissue specific methylation patterns. To contribute to the development of sustainable forest resources across Europe COST Action E28 fostered the use of new genetic tools in the field of forest breeding by supporting actively the technology transfer from leading European laboratories to less technologically advanced sites. Recently established techniques from state of the art research institutions were applied to elucidate particular scientific issues such as hybrid detection in Austrian and South Italian poplar or for discriminating Lithuanian Populus/Fraxinus hybrids. A methodology transfer in the area of diversity estimation and plant selection based on molecular markers contributed to successful analyses of less investigated species such as Sorbus in Hungary or Fraxinus in Lithuania. Thus the Action contributed to the anchoring of genetic and genomic tools in applied forest research. The final conference was organized jointly with the Working Groups 2.04.01 (Population, ecological and conservation genetics) and 02.04.10 (Genomics) of the International Union of Forest Research Organisation (IUFRO). This way the outcomes of COST Action E28 gained broad attention and drew a vivid scientific debate. The results of this conferences titled 'Towards forest community and ecosystem genomics' were published in The New Phytologist 01/2007 (Lexer et al). A highly informative web-site has been established (http://www.genosilva.org) which will remain active after the end of E28 at ARC, Seibersdorf, Austria, displaying a wide collection of scientific papers as well as discussion results on the web.
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