Project: Eucalyptus genomics research network for improved wood properties and adaptation to drought

Eucalypt plantations in the EU represent an important economic activity. They are the main source of short fibre pulpwood for European pulp and paper industry and are important alternative sources of income for rural communities. Improvements in forest productivity have been achieved through breeding and silviculture but they remain lower in the EU than in the tropics, due to climatic limitations. However, wood properties (in particular for pulp manufacture) of EU eucalypt plantations are superior. It is important for EU forestry and pulp and paper sector to pursue further improvements in eucalypt wood quality in order to remain competitive in the world market The projects research focus is on genomics of wood properties but this cannot be separated from the broader issue of drought tolerance of eucalypt plantations. While the former aspect is obvious for the wood end-use quality point of view, the latter is becoming an increasing ecological and economic concern. The goal of this project is to identify a restricted number of Candidate Genes (CG) that are likely to impact wood traits and productivity under drought conditions in Eucalyptus, a major forest species in Southern Europe. Moreover, this project addresses key fundamental issues in genomics, namely (i) the extent to which major genes determine trait differences within and between species, (ii) the contribution of structural and/or regulatory genes in trait expression. EUCANET is a network of industry-based eucalypt breeding organizations and research groups working in forestry genomics, physiology and statistics By combining efforts and materials from the 3 different countries we will be able to construct a multispecies consensus map, produce and exchange data on QTL location, identify CG of interest by means of transcriptomics and proteomics, pre-validate CG through co-localisation with QTL and genetic transformation.. The results will constitute a solid foundation for future association studies for specific wood genes and traits of importance for productivity and drought tolerance. The long-term goal of this project is to apply these advances to the molecular selection of genotypes. This should increase the selection efficiency of elite trees for improved and sustainable variety deployment

Duration 01/06/2007 - 01/06/2010
Website visit project website
Network ERA-PG
Call Structuring Plant Genomic Research in Europe - ERA-PG First Call for Proposals (2006)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Joint Research Unit University Toulouse III/Paul Sabatier Coordinator France
Forestry and Paper Research Institute Portugal
Agricultural Research for Development France
Joint Research Unit INRA / University of Bordeaux - Biodiversity, Genes and Communities Unit France
Technical University of Lisbon Portugal
Technological Institute for Forest Cellulose, Construction-wood and Furniture France
Regional Service for Agri-food Research and Development Spain
University of Oviedo Spain