1 Tahrcountry Musings: Breakthrough Cisgenics Study Heralds New Exciting Vistas for Forestry

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Breakthrough Cisgenics Study Heralds New Exciting Vistas for Forestry

Scientists have demonstrated that growth rate and other characteristics of trees can be changed through "cisgenics". Cisgenics is a type of genetic engineering that is conceptually similar to traditional plant breeding, and uses genes from closely related species that are sexually compatible. The path breaking research was pioneered by forestry scientists at Oregon State University. The study was done with poplar trees.
In conventional transgenic, traits from one plant or animal can be transferred to an unrelated species. But cisgenics uses whole genes from the same plant or a very closely related species. The enormous increases in the speed of genome sequencing have helped the scientists. Sequencing that used to take years can now be accomplished in days.
With the aid if the new technology a gene that gives plants more heat tolerance might be useful in helping plants to deal with a warming climate. Ornamental trees could be developed for shorter height for use in urban areas. Sky is the limit for experimentation.
The new findings have been published in the latest issue of journal Plant Biotechnology Journal.

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