Genomics and Proteomics: Novel Approaches in Tree Improvement

In the era of heavy deforestation and decreased forest productivity, compounded by over exploitation and biodiversity losses, improvement of trees has become a challenging task, which is in turn hindered by long generation intervals of trees, breeding behaviour and their complex genetics. With the advances in molecular biology and bio-technology, new avenues have found their way in forest breeding like molecular markers, Integrating modern genetic and genomic techniques with conventional breeding (Antoine et al. 2011), biochemical markers and other metabolic products. Genomic and proteomic approaches are turning out to be special tools in accomplishing higher gains in advanced tree breeding programs. Genomics- the study of the genome- includes finding out the genes, sequencing of the genome, and finding the variations in the sequence of different genomes. Proteomics is the identification, characterization and quantification of all proteins involved in a particular pathway, organelle, cell, tissue, organ or organism that can be studied in concert to provide accurate and comprehensive data about that system. The genomic resources will for the first time allow comparison between a perennial and an annual plant on a whole genome basis and therefore provide clues for molecular research on tree specific questions like dormancy, development of secondary cambium, juvenile phase change or long term host-pest interactions (Tuskan et al. 2003). The annoted whole genome sequence of Populus trichocarpa was released to public in 2004. In Pinus pinastar 2000 proteins were identified, involved in the changes in cell wall structures, a total of 231 proteins were found to be differentially expressed (Abril et al. 2011).With the rapid anticipated growth of forest bio-technology in the recent past, we can say that out of the woods: forest biotechnology enters the genomic era (Rishikesh et al. 2003).

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