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The book opens on the first tree genome

WALNUT CREEK, CA--An international consortium including the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), Genome Canada, and the Ume Plant Science Centre in Sweden, has released the first complete DNA sequence of a tree, Populus trichocarpa, the Black Cottonwood or poplar, one member of the most ecologically and commercially valuable group of trees in North America. The sequencing was completed at the DOE Joint Genome Institute Production Genomics Facility.

"By helping to lead this international collaboration to sequence the first tree genome, DOE once again is pioneering discovery-class science that promises to yield important societal benefits," said Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham. "The poplar genome sequence will provide researchers with a critical resource to develop faster growing trees, trees that produce more biomass that can be converted to fuels, and trees that can sequester more carbon from the atmosphere or be used to clean up waste sites. Just as DOE earlier played a leading role in mapping the human genome and making possible advances in human health, we now are pleased to build on that success and help deliver the poplar's parts list--and the clean energy and cleaner environment that scientists will produce using the genetic sequence of the poplar in the future."

"Forest genomics is rapidly shaping how we do sustainable, intensive forestry," said David L. Emerson, Canada's Minister of Industry. "The complete poplar code provides us with the starting material for understanding factors that control the essential traits of trees that fuel our forest economy. It will help us farm trees with desired growth and wood quality characteristics, while protecting our forests from pests and diseases through the development of tools for early detection, diagnosis, and control, allowing for more vigilant conservation and forest management."

The Biological and Environmental Research program in the Department of Energy's Office of Science has pr
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Contact: David Gilbert
degilbert@lbl.gov
925-296-5643
DOE/Joint Genome Institute
21-Sep-2004


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