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Research Support For Developing Short Rotation Coppice (SRC) Poplar - NF0410(1)

To establish new genotypes of Populus suitable for short rotation coppice (SRC) biomass production, from collections available in active breeding programmes. To select for yield and disease resistance in SRC. To understand the physiological basis of high yield and to define the SRC ‘ideotype’. To place physiological traits for yield as molecular markers on a molecular genetic map. To develop the concept of marker assisted selection for long-term accelerated breeding in poplar. To provide the underpinning science necessary to develop breeding activity for Populus in the UK.
Policy Relevance
This programme addresses current MAFF policy aimed at ‘providing basic knowledge to aid the development of a competitive sector’... The provision of improved consistent yields will contribute directly to this policy objective. The programme is also in line with policy aims to protect the environment, since SRC poplar is a renewable Kyoto-compliant energy, DTi (1999).
Value and use of the results
The output will be of direct relevance and use to UK growers of SRC energy crops and to the emerging biomass industry. New genotypes will be available to the industry as a result of this study. The UK will be well-placed to develop future poplar breeding, once a clear understanding of the SRC poplar ideotype is defined.
Objective 1
To assess new material collected from on-going European and USA poplar breeding programmes and from existing collections for suitability for SRC poplar in the UK.
Objective 2
To define the complex physiological basis of high yield in SRC poplar, the ‘ideotype’ for SRC, using new genotypes and two ‘mapping populations’
Objective 3
To link physiological traits to molecular markers, using two mapping populations, family 331 and the cross available from Belgium. To initiate the technique of marker assisted selection (MAS) in accelerated SRC poplar tree breeding.
Objective 4
Using the information on SRC ‘ideotype’ and the work on molecular markers, initiate a new programme of crossing, bringing appropriate expertise into the UK to develop future commercial breeding activity.
Objective 5
To write refereed papers for publication and to disseminate information to the industry through trade organisations such as British Biogen and through ETSU and the Forestry Commission.
Objective 6
To initiate the process of gaining plant variety rights using the ‘distictiveness, uniformity and stability’ criteria, should this be appropriate.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2000

To: 2005

Cost: £486,179
Contractor / Funded Organisations
University - Southampton
Arable Farming              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops