Canadian Forest Service Publications

Molecular aspects of conifer zygotic and somatic embryo development: A review of genome-wide approaches and recent insights. Trontin, J.-F.; Klimaszewska, K.; Morel, A.; Hargreaves, C.; Lelu-Walter, M.-A. 2016. Pages 167-207 in Germanà, M.A.; Lambardi, M., eds. In Vitro Embryogenesis in Higher Plants, Springer.

Year: 2016

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 36211

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Mark record


Genome-wide profiling (transcriptomics, proteomics, metabolomics), is providing unprecedented opportunities to unravel the complexity of coordinated gene expression during embryo development in trees, especially conifer species harboring "giga-genome." This knowledge should be critical for the efficient delivery of improved varieties through seeds and/or somatic embryos in fluctuating markets and to cope with climate change. We reviewed "omics" as well as targeted gene expression studies during both somatic and zygotic embryo development in conifers and tentatively puzzled over the critical processes and genes involved at the specific developmental and transition stages. Current limitations to the interpretation of these large datasets are going to be lifted through the ongoing development of comprehensive genome resources in conifers. Nevertheless omics already confirmed that master regulators (e.g., transcription and epigenetic factors) play central roles. As in model angiosperms, the molecular regulation from early to late embryogenesis may mainly arise from spatiotemporal modulation of auxin-, gibberellin-, and abscisic acid-mediated responses. Omics also showed the potential for the development of tools to assess the progress of embryo development or to build genotype-independent, predictive models of embryogenesis-specific characteristics.

Plain Language Summary

This book chapter presents a review of the genome-wide approach used to characterize the development of conifer embryos. This method makes it possible to predict the tree’s future development based on the development of the seed’s embryo. What makes it especially useful to researchers is that it only requires the identification of a few groups of genes, which is a significant advantage since trees, especially conifers, have large genomes. This approach could lead to the development of prediction models of future tree characteristics (size, growth, fiber quality), which in turn would greatly accelerate the selection process.