Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Genetic Data Can Help Predict How Pine Forests Will Cope with Climate Change

05.03.2015

Gene variants influence maritime pine survival under climate stress

Data from only a small number of gene variants can predict which maritime pine trees are most vulnerable to climate change, scientists report in the March issue of GENETICS. The results will improve computer models designed to forecast where forests will grow as the climate changes, and promises to help forestry managers decide where to focus reforestation efforts. The results will also guide the choice of tree stocks.


Santiago C. González-Martínez.

Maritime pine forest in Serra Calderona, eastern Spain. Typical Mediterranean forests as the one pictured here are under severe risk due to summer droughts and wildfire. It is expected that extinction risk of this valuable ecosystem will increase due to climate change.

The maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) grows widely in southwestern Europe and parts of northern Africa. But the tree's important economic value and ecological roles in the region may be at risk as the changing climate threatens the more vulnerable forests and the productivity of commercial plantations.

To predict which regions will sustain pine forests in the future, researchers and managers rely on computer models. But these forecasts don't take into account two major factors that influence a forest's fate: genetics and evolution. Genetic differences between tree populations mean that forests vary in how well they cope with warmer, drier conditions. Ongoing evolution of trees also influences the prevalence of these genetic differences; for example, trees with gene variants allowing them to withstand higher temperatures will become increasingly common as the climate changes.

"These genetic effects are not included in forest range shift models, but we know they can completely change the resulting predictions. Our goal was to identify such effects in a way that can be readily incorporated into the forecasts," said study leader Santiago González-Martínez, from the Forest Research Centre of Spain's Institute for Agricultural Research (CIFOR-INIA).

To find genetic variants that affect the species’ fitness in different climate conditions, maritime pine researchers from around the world pooled their expertise and the results of previous research, yielding a list of more than 300 variants in 200 candidate genes. Creating a shortlist of targets is considerably faster and more economical than searching the entire genome of the maritime pine, which is about nine times larger than the human genome.

From this list, the team tested whether any of the candidates were more common in regions that shared similar climates. Such geographic patterns can be the result of natural selection and point to gene variants that influence tree survival and reproduction according to climate. By testing the frequency of each variant at 36 locations in Portugal, Spain, France, Morocco, and Tunisia, the researchers found 18 variants that showed correlations with the local climate. These variants affected genes involved in many different biological processes, including growth and response to heat stress.

The researchers then looked for evidence that these variants are important for the trees’ fitness by planting seedlings from 19 of the locations together in a dry part of Spain, at the extreme end of the species' climatic range. This allowed the team to compare how well genetically different trees would survive under similar conditions. After five years, the seedlings carrying gene variants predicted to be beneficial in the local climate indeed tended to have higher survival rates.

These results demonstrate the feasibility of this relatively fast approach of finding and confirming genetic variants associated with climate. "Now that we have shown that the method works well, we are planning similar experiments on a bigger scale, with more test sites, looking at more genes, and different traits. For example, the single biggest climate change threat to pine forests is the increased frequency of wildfires, so we're searching for variants that affect fire tolerance," said González-Martínez.

"Good decisions require good data, and this collaborative work shows how crucial genetic data can be for managing biodiversity and commercial forestry amid a changing climate," said GENETICS Editor-in-Chief Mark Johnston.

CITATION:
Molecular Proxies for Climate Maladaptation in a Long-Lived Tree (Pinus pinaster Aiton, Pinaceae)
Juan-Pablo Jaramillo-Correa, Isabel Rodríguez-Quilón, Delphine Grivet, Camille Lepoittevin, Federico Sebastiani, Myriam Heuertz, Pauline H. Garnier-Géré, Ricardo Alía, Christophe Plomion, Giovanni G. Vendramin, and Santiago C. González-Martínez

GENETICS March 2015 199:793-807 doi:10.1534/genetics.114.173252
http://www.genetics.org/content/199/3/793.full

FUNDING:
The study was funded by grants from the European Commission (FP6 NoE EvolTree and FP7 NovelTree Breeding), the Spanish National Research Plan (ClonaPin, RTA2010-00120-C02-01; VaMPiro, CGL2008-05289-C02-01/02; AdapCon, CGL2011-30182-C02-01; and AFFLORA, CGL2012-40129-C02-02), the Italian Science Ministry (MIUR project ‘Biodiversitalia’, RBAP10A2T4), and the ERA-Net BiodivERsA (LinkTree project, EUI2008-03713), which included the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness as national funder (part of the 2008 BiodivERsA call for research proposals).

Institutions involved in research:
Forest Research Centre, Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Tecnología Agraria y Alimentaria, Spain
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique
University of Bordeaux
Institute of Biosciences and Bioresources, National Research Council, Italy
University of Lausanne

Contact Information
Cristy Gelling
cgelling@thegsajournals.org
Phone: +1 412-478-3537

Cristy Gelling | newswise

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli
26.04.2017 | University of the Basque Country

nachricht New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientist invents way to trigger artificial photosynthesis to clean air

26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ammonium nitrogen input increases the synthesis of anticarcinogenic compounds in broccoli

26.04.2017 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

SwRI-led team discovers lull in Mars' giant impact history

26.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>