BETWOOD – Identification of novel regulators of growth and wood formation by studying natural variation in Betula pendula, a novel model tree







My research aims to understand molecular mechanisms controlling growth and wood formation in plants. I will identify novel genes functioning in the regulation of cambial meristem activity by exploring its natural variation. I will introduce a novel, second generation model species, B. pendula, into tree genetics. This tree is monoecious (both female and male flowers at the same tree), and tolerates inbreeding well. Even six months old trees can be induced to flower under greenhouse conditions, making advanced crossing schemes possible. Its small genome is currently being sequenced. Betula will bring the power of inbreeding and short generation times into tree genetics. With Betula as a model tree, my project represents a novel approach of tree genetics, which has potential for ground-breaking insights into wood development.

This project has funding from EU´s FP7 Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (BETWOOD 334542).