Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Scientists clone 'survivor' elm trees

Date:
March 29, 2012
Source:
University of Guelph
Summary:
Scientists have found a way to successfully clone American elm trees that have survived repeated epidemics of their biggest killer -- Dutch elm disease. The breakthrough is the first known use of in vitro culture technology to clone buds of mature American elm trees.

Scientists at the University of Guelph have found a way to successfully clone American elm trees that have survived repeated epidemics of their biggest killer -- Dutch elm disease.
Credit: Alexreller / Fotolia

Scientists at the University of Guelph have found a way to successfully clone American elm trees that have survived repeated epidemics of their biggest killer -- Dutch elm disease.

Related Articles


The breakthrough, published March 29 in the Canadian Journal of Forest Research, is the first known use of in vitro culture technology to clone buds of mature American elm trees.

"This research has the potential to bring back the beloved American elm population to North America," said Prof. Praveen Saxena, a plant scientist who worked on the project with Professor Alan Sullivan. Both are from Guelph's Department of Plant Agriculture.

"It may also serve as a model to help propagate and preserve thousands of other endangered plant species at risk of extinction across the globe."

Majestic American elms were among the most popular and recognizable trees in Ontario, lining boulevards and adorning city centres. But more than 95 per cent of the population in Eastern Canada and the United States has now been wiped out by Dutch elm disease.

The imported fungal infection interferes with water transport and stops nutrients from circulating in the tree. Only about one in 100,000 elms may be naturally resistant to the pathogen.

Looking for new techniques to clone and produce resistant trees through micropropagation, the Guelph researchers selected tissue samples from survivors in Ontario, including a century-old elm tree growing on the U of G campus.

"The trees that have survived initial and subsequent epidemics potentially represent an invaluable source of potential disease resistance for future plantings and breeding programs," Saxena said.

After growing genetic copies from the shoot tips and dormant buds, the researchers hope to select germplasm with the desired traits including disease-resistance which will further aid elm breeding and biotechnology programs around the world.

They also perfected a way to conserve germplasm over the long term. A germplasm repository now contains 17 accessions collected from mature elm trees that survived across Ontario.

"Our results demonstrate the usefulness of in vitro technologies for conserving and reintroducing endangered germplasm of economic, social and environment significance," Saxena said.

In vitro conservation technology is highly efficient and better than seed banks for conservation of many plant species, he added. Hundreds of genotypes with known phenotypes can be conserved in a safe small space and can easily be propagated.

The professors worked with Guelph postdoctoral researchers Mukund Shukla and Maxwell Jones; Chunzhao Liu, Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing; and Susan Gosling of the Gosling Foundation.

"We want to conserve and propagate the American elm and many other rare and endangered Canadian native species so that we can start to replace what has been decimated along the way," said Gosling.

Saxena said the team hopes to reintroduce disease-resistant trees. "The need to conserve endangered plant species in provinces such as Ontario where urban sprawl continues is crucial and urgent."

The research was funded by the Gosling Foundation. The Canadian Journal of Forest Research is published by NRC Research Press.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Guelph. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mukund R. Shukla, A. Maxwell P. Jones, J. Alan Sullivan, Chunzhao Liu, Susan Gosling, Praveen K. Saxena. In vitro conservation of American elm (Ulmus americana): potential role of auxin metabolism in sustained plant proliferation. Canadian Journal of Forest Research, 29 March 2012 DOI: 10.1139/x2012-022

Cite This Page:

University of Guelph. "Scientists clone 'survivor' elm trees." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 29 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329101800.htm>.
University of Guelph. (2012, March 29). Scientists clone 'survivor' elm trees. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 18, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329101800.htm
University of Guelph. "Scientists clone 'survivor' elm trees." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120329101800.htm (accessed April 18, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

Nervous Return to Everest a Year After Deadly Avalanche

AFP (Apr. 18, 2015) In the Himalayan town of Lukla, excitement mingles with fear as mountaineers make their way up to Everest a year after an avalanche killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the world&apos;s highest peak. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

L.A. Water Cops Remind Residents of Water Conservation

Reuters - US Online Video (Apr. 18, 2015) "Water cops" in Los Angeles remind the public about water conservation methods amid California&apos;s prolonged drought. Julie Noce reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

Planet Defence Conference Tackles Asteroid Threat

AFP (Apr. 17, 2015) Scientists gathered at a European Space Agency (ESA) facility outside Rome this week for the Planetary Defence Conference 2015 to discuss how to tackle the potential threat from asteroids hitting Earth. Duration: 00:54 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

Gulf Scarred, Resilient 5 Years After BP Spill

AP (Apr. 17, 2015) Five years after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, splotches of oil still dot the seafloor and wads of tarry petroleum-smelling material hide in pockets in the marshes of Barataria Bay. (April 17) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins