Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Birch tree genome sequenced for first time

Date:
November 20, 2012
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Scientists have sequenced the genetic code of a birch tree for the first time, which could help protect birch populations.

Richard Buggs collecting a dwarf birch sample.
Credit: Image courtesy of Queen Mary, University of London

Scientists from Queen Mary, University of London have sequenced the genetic code of a birch tree for the first time, which could help protect British birch populations.

The genome, which is around 450 million letters, will help researchers understand the genetic basis of traits such as disease resistance and growth shape.

There are over sixty species of birch trees around the world, with huge ecological and commercial importance. They are an essential part of the Boreal forest located around the North Pole, which is the world's largest land-based ecosystem. The team sequenced the genome of a dwarf birch tree from Scotland, a species that is nationally scarce in Britain but common further north in Europe.

Lead researcher Dr Richard Buggs, from Queen Mary's School of Biological and Chemical Sciences said: "Dwarf birch is an excellent model for birch genomics, as its small size makes it easy to grow and experiment with, and it has a smaller genome than some other birch species. This genome sequence is a valuable resource for scientists studying birch trees around the world."

The threat of an American pest is currently hanging over British birch populations. The bronze birch borer -- a type of beetle -- is a common and serious threat to birch trees in North America. British birch species show unusually low resistance to the pest, unlike their American counterparts, and if the pest were to come into the UK then it could cause widespread devastation.

Alan Watson Featherstone, executive director of Trees for Life, a charity that conserves dwarf birch near Loch Ness, said: "This is a tremendous breakthrough. Together with our woodland restoration work at Dundreggan, where we have one of the greatest concentrations of dwarf birch in Scotland, it will do much to benefit the conservation of this important species."

Queen Mary, alongside conservationists Trees for Life, and Highland Birchwoods are partnering to supervise a PhD student, James Borrell, who is surveying the genetic diversity of dwarf birch populations in Scotland.

James said: "This newly sequenced genome will be a hugely valuable tool in our effort to conserve this species. We are building on this to survey the genomic diversity of dwarf birch trees in Britain to inform management strategies."

The research was carried out jointly with the University of Edinburgh and funded by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). It is published in the journal Molecular Ecology.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Birch tree genome sequenced for first time." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120193517.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2012, November 20). Birch tree genome sequenced for first time. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120193517.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Birch tree genome sequenced for first time." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121120193517.htm (accessed September 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Monday, September 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Washington Wildlife Center Goes Nuts Over Baby Squirrels

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) An animal rescue in Washington state receives an influx of orphaned squirrels, keeping workers busy as they nurse them back to health. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Experimental Ebola Drug ZMapp Cures Lab Monkeys Of Disease

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) In a new study, a promising experimental treatment for Ebola managed to cure a group of infected macaque monkeys. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

Killer Amoeba Found in Louisiana Water System

AP (Aug. 28, 2014) State health officials say testing has confirmed the presence of a killer amoeba in a water system serving three St. John the Baptist Parish towns. (Aug. 28) 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:
from the past week

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