The breakthrough, published today 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 the National Research Council of Canada.
Praveen Saxena | EurekAlert!
Algorithm could streamline harvesting of hand-picked crops
13.03.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity
06.03.2018 | Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
Animal photoreceptors capture light with photopigments. Researchers from the University of Göttingen have now discovered that these photopigments fulfill an...
On 15 March, the AWI research aeroplane Polar 5 will depart for Greenland. Concentrating on the furthest northeast region of the island, an international team...
The world’s second-largest ice shelf was the destination for a Polarstern expedition that ended in Punta Arenas, Chile on 14th March 2018. Oceanographers from...
At the 2018 ILA Berlin Air Show from April 25–29, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is showcasing extreme high-speed Laser Material Deposition (EHLA): A video documents how for metal components that are highly loaded, EHLA has already proved itself as an alternative to hard chrome plating, which is now allowed only under special conditions.
When the EU restricted the use of hexavalent chromium compounds to special applications requiring authorization, the move prompted a rethink in the surface...
At the ILA Berlin, hall 4, booth 202, Fraunhofer FHR will present two radar sensors for navigation support of drones. The sensors are valuable components in the implementation of autonomous flying drones: they function as obstacle detectors to prevent collisions. Radar sensors also operate reliably in restricted visibility, e.g. in foggy or dusty conditions. Due to their ability to measure distances with high precision, the radar sensors can also be used as altimeters when other sources of information such as barometers or GPS are not available or cannot operate optimally.
Drones play an increasingly important role in the area of logistics and services. Well-known logistic companies place great hope in these compact, aerial...
16.03.2018 | Event News
13.03.2018 | Event News
08.03.2018 | Event News
16.03.2018 | Earth Sciences
16.03.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
16.03.2018 | Life Sciences