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 October 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 October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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