Perennial, clonally propagated plants provide a challenge and an opportunity for functional gene discovery. Meiotic recombination-based genetic analysis and breeding are hampered by the long generation cycle. On the other hand, clonal propagation enables the production of many individuals with identical genotypes and economic exploitation of plants without the need for sexual reproduction. In collaboration with Andrew Groover at US Forest Service, Davis we are studying the effect of genomic copy number variation on poplar hybrid performance. We are studying both variation induced by hybridization and by ionizing radiation, the latter applied to pollen during interspecific hybridization.
Approach and example of results
Next generation sequencing-based genotyping and karyotyping is being used to characterize ploidy changes, deletions and possible rearrangements in Populus hybrids, including both F1 pedigrees and unrelated F1 individuals.
This research was supported by the Office of Science (BER), U.S. Department of Energy, Grant no DE-SCSC0007183 entitled "Creation of High-Precision Characterization of Novel Poplar Biomass Germplasm" and "A novel poplar biomass germplasm resource for functional genomics and breeding”