Genomics of Eastern Forest Trees

istock-000016402219medium.jpgJohn Carlson has received a $3.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research program. Carlson is a professor of molecular genetics and the chief investigator on the funded project, “Comparative Genomics of Environmental Stress Responses in North American Hardwoods,” whose focus is to develop genomics resources for forest health issues affecting hardwood trees.

The college has teamed up with six other universities to perform this research. 

Genomics applies to structure, function, and mapping of entire DNA sequences of organisms, which carry all their genetic information. Few genomic resources are available for the hardwood species in eastern forests. Carlson’s project will develop new resources for several important species that cover a wide range of genetic traits.

Species to be included are yellow poplar, sweetgum, honey locust, northern red oak, black walnut, sugar maple, blackgum, and green ash.

The project will also produce a DNA marker to analyze genetic diversity for traits related to environmental stresses like diseases, insects, and drought.

Research will encourage forest health and management education and create tools for solving forest health issues and protecting genetic diversity.