Mass clonal (vegetative) propagation and genetic modification of forest trees through somatic embryogenesis


We are developing embryogenic systems for important commercially and ecologically species, such as western red cedar (Thuja plicata), yellow cypress (Callitropis nootkanensis), whitebark pine (Pinus albicualis), which is being affected by the white pine blister rust fungus (Cronartium ribicola), and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta), recently devastated in BC by the outbreak of mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae). Through collaborations with CFS-PFC and CFS-LFC scientists we are transforming eastern and western white pines with a gene potentially responsible for the tolerance to the pine blister rust. Simultaneously, we are using SE to mass propagate backcrossed eastern white pine hybrids (initially crossed with Pinus wallichiana, which carries resistance to the fungus) for bioassays and selection of clones displaying tolerance to artificial infection. Our cryopreserved germplasm bank contains about 800 hybrid genotypes in the form of embryogenic cells.


  • Y.S. Park (CFS-CWFC)
  • S. Mansfield (University of British Columbia)
  • P. Tanguay (CFS-LFC)
  • J. Russel (British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range)
  • D. Noshad (CFS-PFC)
  • J.J. Liu (CFS-PFC)

Project status

  • On-going