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BEYOND CROP BIOTECH: QMUL SCIENTISTS DECODE BIRCH TREE'S GENOME

Date : 21 November 2012

Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) sequenced the genome of birch tree for the first time. The sequence is expected to enlighten scientists about the genetic basis of disease resistance and growth shape of birch tree.

Birch trees are ecologically and commercially relevant trees. They inhabit a significant portion of the Boreal forest in the North Pole, which is the largest land-based ecosystem. The researchers decoded the genome of dwarf birch tree from Scotland, a species that is limited in Britain but abundant in other areas of Europe. According to Dr. Richard Buggs, main author of the study, dwarf birch is the best model for birch genomics because of its small size that makes it easy to grow and experiment with.