The Teichmann lab

Modification of tree architecture

Poplars grown in short rotation plantations are used for energy purposes and paper production. Branches and twigs have a low wood to bark ratio and, as a consequence, biomass harvested from highly branched poplar lines contains a large proportion of bark that negatively affects quality of the biomass. Moreover, removal of the bark to obtain wood for the pulp and paper industry is difficult for highly branched trees.
The aim of the project is to improve the architecture of poplar lines by modification of branching. Stem-architecture is determined by the number of axial meristems and by the strength of apical dominance. For modification of poplar architecture we have chosen target genes that specifically control development of axial meristems or apical dominance. Overexpression or knock down of the selected genes in transgenic plants has not been reported to cause pleiotropic effects. In the first project phase established techniques will be used to generate transgenic poplar with altered branching patterns. In the second phase a cisgenic approach will be implemented using innovative selection markers.

Project Partners
Matthias Fladung, Johann Heinrich von Thuenen-Institute, Grosshansdorf
Thomas Schmülling, Freie Universität Berlin
Bernd Müller-Röber, University of Potsdam
K.-H. Dammer, Leibniz-Institute for Agricultural Engineering (ATB), Potsdam
Kay Hettrich, Fraunhofer Institute of Applied Polymer Research (IAP), Potsdam-Golm
D. Landgraf, P&P Service GmbH & Co. KG, Eitelborn
Guido Jach, Phytowelt GreenTechnologies GmbH, Cologne


by the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung as part of the joint project “Development and use of novel gene technologies to increase biomass yield in the woody perennial Populus spec. (PopMass)”