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sector_ico_Forestry_trans Forestry

Conifer Genome Exploration

  • Project Leaders: Kermit Ritland
  • Institutions: University of British Columbia (UBC)
  • Budget: $488519
  • Program/Competition: Science Opportunities Fund
  • Genome Centre(s): Genome British Columbia
  • Status: Closed

This project explored the genome organization, structure and sequence of two conifer species: white spruce and loblolly pine. Previously, no conifer genome sequencing project had been undertaken due to the large size and complexity of the conifer genome, and there was a lack of most of the tools needed to enable a whole genome sequencing project of this scope. The project explored how genes were organized in the genomes and how gene subsets could be identified which was a crucial first step to deciding the most effective sequencing strategy for the conifer genome. The sequence of the genome provided information useful for molecular breeding of conifers, tailoring future plantings in response to climate changes and improving conifers as a potential feedstock for biofuels. This project introduced the first formal collaboration between the British Columbia and Quebec conifer genome groups, which have previously been in competition for nearly 10 years, and served as an important precursor to the SMarTForests project.