Forest Genetics and Forest Tree Breeding

Adaptation mechanisms and tree improvement at the molecular level
The adaptation mechanisms of plants to different environmental conditions and to global change and the role of variation at particular genes for adaptive traits and traits of economic importance are only poorly understood. This applies in particular to forest trees, which are characterized by an extraordinary long life-time, long generation cycles, late start of flowering, growth in heterogeneous environments, and high levels of genetic variation within populations.
We currently investigate sequence variation in candidate genes for draught resistance and phenological traits of oak (Quercus spp.) and pine (Pinus spp.). In a complementary approach, QTLs (Quantitative Trait Loci) are mapped in different oak families. QTLs for bud burst in oaks were identified based on existing and newly developed genetic maps mainly using AFLP polymorphisms.

Selected ongoing or recently completed projects in this field
DIGENFOR
EVOLTREE
CHERNOBYL

Selected publications
Gailing, O., Langenfeld-Heyser, R., Polle, A., Finkeldey, R. (2008). QTL loci affecting stomatal density and growth in a Quercus robur progeny: implications for the adaptation to changing environments. Global Change Biology 14: 1934-1946
Gailing, O. (2008). QTL analysis of leaf morphological characters in a Quercus robur full-sib family (Q. robur x Q. robur ssp. slavonica). Plant Biology 10: 624-634
Gailing, O., Kremer, A., Steiner, W., Hattemer, H.H., and Finkeldey, R. (2005). Results on quantitative trait loci for flushing date in oaks can be transferred to different segregating progenies. Plant Biology 7: 516-525