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Forests 2016, 7(11), 286; doi:10.3390/f7110286

Perceived Acceptability of Implementing Marker-Assisted Selection in the Forests of British Columbia

1
Department of Forest Resources Management, Forest Sciences Centre, 2424 Main Mall, The University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
2
Département des Sciences du Bois et de la Forêt, Faculté de Foresterie, de Géographie et de Géomatique, 2145-A Pavillon Abitibi-Price, 2405 rue de la Terrasse, Université Laval, Québec, QC G1V0A6, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: John MacKay and Stephen P. DiFazio
Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 12 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
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Abstract

The forest sector in British Columbia (BC) has faced a number of challenges over the past decade. In response to some of those challenges, the government has invested in forest genomic tools. Marker-assisted selection (MAS) is a biotechnological tool that flags desired traits on the genome. This tool may assist tree breeders with the early selection of preferred genotypes, reducing the breeding cycle and more accurately and efficiently selecting for improved qualities. However, there is a poor understanding of the perceived acceptability of implementing MAS. Semi-structured interviews and a questionnaire were employed across participants categorized into four groups. It was found that government and industry participants held positive perceptions towards MAS, supporting its use and continued research in BC, and identifying its benefits in forest regeneration and to tree breeders. Environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and First Nations attitudes lay between neutral and negative. Concerns were most strongly focused on environmental impacts, ecosystem degradation, and reduced genetic diversity, while identified benefits were specific to tree breeders and improved tree resiliency. It was concluded that before MAS can be successfully implemented, an appropriate setting must first be established through improved knowledge of biotechnology and its applications, well-defined policies, and strengthened engagement and consultation with First Nations. View Full-Text
Keywords: marker-assisted selection; perception; social perception; forest genomics; biotechnology; tree breeding; forest stakeholders marker-assisted selection; perception; social perception; forest genomics; biotechnology; tree breeding; forest stakeholders
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nilausen, C.; Gélinas, N.; Bull, G. Perceived Acceptability of Implementing Marker-Assisted Selection in the Forests of British Columbia. Forests 2016, 7, 286.

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