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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.

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