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Linking physiology, molecular genetics and genomics in Populus to understand and improve yield and quality for biomass and timber productions across Europe

The aim of POPYOMICS is to use the latest techniques in molecular genetic mapping, genomics and the physical sequence of poplar, as available, to define genes that determine yield and disease resistance in Populus with the aim of improving this species for growth across Europe as a bioenergy and timber crop.
In contrast to the burning of fossil fuels, bioenergy crops are largely carbon neutral. They result in a net emission of CO2 approximately 5% of that associated with fossil fuel use.
They could be used to make a significant contribution to the target for emissions reduction in the EU of 8% compared to 1990 outputs.
The long-term ambition of POPYOMICS is to develop new genotypes of Populus with improved potential for fast growth, carbon sequestration below ground and optimised wood production for harvest.

To develop a new experimental network for Europe.
To identify QTL in four mapping pedigrees for growthand vigour,disease resistance and timber yield, using available molecular maps and available software.
To test the robustness of QTL in four mapping pedigrees by growth of pedigrees at the siteswith contrasting climates, thus examining genotype x environment interactions.
To use molecular markers in an innovative approach to develop a POPLAR consenus map.
To use association to test the co-location of markers and QTL using two collections of the native P.nigra.
To use the DNA microarrays available for wood and leaf ESTs in Populus with the parents of the poplar pedigrees, to identify differentially expressed ESTs in response to abiotic and biotic stresses and to map these.
To use the EST database to identify up to 100 candidate genes and to map these in the appropriate Populus pedigree.
To verify these candidate genesby full-length DNA sequences from the emergent Populus mapping project from the USA.

Developed and managed a new experimental facility that will be used to initiate future projects in FP6, in relation to tree genomics, sustainability and energy.
Developed the databases PHYSIO-TRAIT and DISEASE-TRAIT.
Aligned the molecular genetic maps of Populus, providing an enriched molecular genetic map.
Determined the map position of QTL for up to 50 morpho-physiological, structural and biochemical traits related to yield.
Validated a set of SSR markers for use across POP1-4 pedigrees.
Provided a maximum of 100 candidate genes for yield and disease resistance, mapped and verified their association with QTL using a genomic approach.
Identified a restricted set of candidates as full-length DNA sequences and mapped these in POP-1.
Provided detailed transcript profiling for the developmental events of bud-burst and set and leaf development.
Contributed through the above to the development of Populus as the model tree for future selection, improvement and breeding using the information from POPYOMICS.


Scientist responsible for the project

Bassett Crescent East
SO16 7PX Southampton
United Kingdom (The) - GB

Phone: +44 2380 592335
Fax: +44 2380 594269


Project ID QLRT-2001-00953
Organisation University of Southampton - School of Biological Sciences
Area 5.3.1
Start date 01 November 2002
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 2 892 822 €
Total EC contribution   2 322 274 €
Status Completed
Web address of the project

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