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 Researchers discover natural product that could lead to new class of commercial herbicide
16.07.2018 | UCLA Samueli School of Engineering

nachricht Advance warning system via cell phone app: Avoiding extreme weather damage in agriculture
12.07.2018 | Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandschaftsforschung (ZALF) e.V.

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: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>