Emeritus Scientist, Research, Forest Tree Biotechnology
Laurentian Forestry Centre
1055 Du P.E.P.S. Street, P.O. Box 10380
Québec, Quebec, G1V 4C7
Tel.: (418) 648-4638
Mass clonal (vegetative) propagation and genetic modification of forest trees through somatic embryogenesis
Somatic embryogenesis (SE) in conifers is a fundamental biotechnology, based on tissue culture, that has a potential for application in mass propagation of elite germplasm and for the development of new forest tree varieties, either conventionally bred or genetically engineered. It can also be applied to species conservation and/or restoration. My research on SE encompasses design and execution of experimental approaches in vitro that would be effective and economically feasible for each conifer species of interest, separately.
Rejuvenation of adult conifers through somatic embryogenesis
In conifers, SE relies on immature and mature seed embryos; however, explants taken from adult trees are recalcitrant. The ability to clone adult trees (as opposed to juvenile ones) offers an important advantage for rapid improvement of forest trees because their growth and other characteristics are known. True rejuvenation of select adult trees through SE and regeneration of somatic seedlings could be compared to a “replay” of tree ontogeny, with the unprecedented benefit of having achieved multiplication at the same time. Recently, this recalcitrance has been overcome in adult white spruce and SE has been induced from shoot bud explants. This phenomenon is being studied at the physiological and molecular levels to gain a better understanding of the underlying causes of recalcitrance in clonal propagation of conifers. Transcriptome profiling will be used to identify the genes involved in the onset of SE and to characterize differences among responsive and unresponsive genotypes. Subsequently, the functional genomics of select transcription factors will be tested in transgenic white spruce.
Adjunct Professor at the Laurentian University, Biology Department. Associate Editor for In Vitro Cellular & Developmental Biology – Plant, Trees – Structure and Function, and Propagation of Ornamental Plants.
Master’s degree in plant ecology from Wroclaw University in Poland (1973) and a Ph.D. in experimental botany from the same university (1979). NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Agriculture Canada 1981-1986 (Plant Research Centre, Ottawa, ON, Genetic engineering of crop plants, with Dr. W. Keller).
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