Emerging Principles of Tree Biology in the Omics Era

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Forest Ecophysiology and Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 8064

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Ecosystem Science and Management, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Interests: genomics; gene expression; population genetics; endangered species

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Guest Editor
Forest Health Research and Education Center, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 0546, USA
Interests: molecular biology; molecular genetics; plant growth and development; genomics
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Guest Editor
Forest Technology Program, Pennsylvania State University, Mont Alto, PA 17237, USA
Interests: silviculture; forest health; sustainability; invasive plants ecology and management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forest trees are essential components of ecosystems, storing most of the world’s sequestered carbon, providing ecosystem services such as water purification and oxygen production, serving as keystone species that anchor complex multitrophic communities, and supporting local economies with renewable biomaterials. These attributes derive in large part from the life history strategy of trees as long-lived, woody, perennial plants, with the ability to adapt acutely and chronically to ever-changing environmental conditions. Major advances in the understanding of the unique, foundational processes of tree biology can be fostered by integrated, cross-disciplinary collaborations of geneticists, ecologists, physiologists, pathologists, entomologists, silviculturists, and data modelers. Such integrated research can leverage powerful tools from genomics, phenomics, metabolomics, microscopy, remote sensing, and data science. 

An important first step will be defining which key principles of tree biology to address. Articles to this Special Issue may include such topics as: Interactions at the rhizosphere microbiome, tree-pest, and tree-to-tree defense interfaces; Tree architecture and its role in abiotic and biotic stress resistance; The evolution of reproductive life history traits in trees and their implications for adaptation to rapid climate change; Landscape genetics for understanding the impacts of silvicultural management practices in sustaining the ecology of forests; The role of wood-based biomaterials in achieving renewable carbon-neutral industries; and others.

Prof. Dr. John E. Carlson
Prof. Dr. Albert G. Abbott
Dr. Kimberly Bohn
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • tree biology advances
  • woody perennials
  • integrated research
  • emerging principles

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

10 pages, 1925 KiB  
Article
Sesquiterpene Induction by the Balsam Woolly Adelgid (Adelges piceae) in Putatively Resistant Fraser Fir (Abies fraseri)
by Austin Thomas, David C. Tilotta, John Frampton and Robert M. Jetton
Forests 2022, 13(5), 716; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050716 - 03 May 2022
Viewed by 1253
Abstract
Fraser fir, Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir., is a tree endemic to the Southern Appalachians and is found only in a few isolated populations at high elevations. Fraser firs are also cultivated on a commercial scale as Christmas trees. The species is imperiled by [...] Read more.
Fraser fir, Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir., is a tree endemic to the Southern Appalachians and is found only in a few isolated populations at high elevations. Fraser firs are also cultivated on a commercial scale as Christmas trees. The species is imperiled by an introduced insect, the balsam woolly adelgid, Adelges piceae Ratzeburg (BWA). The insect severely damages Christmas tree crops and has caused substantial Fraser fir mortality in natural stands. Foliar terpenoids are one mechanism of host plant defense against invading insects and may be one focus of future Christmas tree breeding efforts. This study examines the correlation of foliar terpenoids with Fraser fir performance when infested with BWA. GC-MS and GC-FID analysis of artificially infested Fraser fir foliage reveals that increased concentrations of four terpenoid compounds are associated with BWA infestations. Foliar concentrations of two sesquiterpenes, camphene and humulene, are significantly higher in putatively resistant Fraser fir clones than in more susceptible clones after sustained adelgid feeding for a period of 20 weeks. Although it is unclear if the induction of these sesquiterpenes in the host fir is directly contributing to adelgid resistance, these compounds could serve as effective indicators while screening for BWA resistance in future Christmas tree breeding programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Principles of Tree Biology in the Omics Era)
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17 pages, 3340 KiB  
Article
Development of a New Genetic Transformation System for White and Green Ash Using Embryogenic Cultures
by Andrew Ryan Tull, Heather Gladfelter, Flavia Pampolini, Lynne Rieske, Charles Dana Nelson and Scott Merkle
Forests 2022, 13(5), 671; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13050671 - 26 Apr 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2043
Abstract
All North American ash (Fraxinus spp.) species are threatened by the emerald ash borer (EAB; Agrilus planipennis), an exotic beetle which has already destroyed millions of ash trees in the U.S. and Canada. Although both chemical insecticides and biological control can [...] Read more.
All North American ash (Fraxinus spp.) species are threatened by the emerald ash borer (EAB; Agrilus planipennis), an exotic beetle which has already destroyed millions of ash trees in the U.S. and Canada. Although both chemical insecticides and biological control can be effective, and host resistance appears possible, the speed of the invasion has defied traditional management approaches. One potential, innovative approach to managing this destructive insect is to develop a host tree-induced gene silencing strategy using RNA interference (RNAi) constructs targeting EAB-specific genes. An important requirement for applying RNAi technology is a reliable transformation/regeneration system for the host tree species. We developed an Agrobacterium-mediated gene transfer system for white ash (F. americana) and green ash (F. pennsylvanica) using the embryogenic cultures of these species as target material. Embryogenic suspension cultures of multiple genotypes of both species were plated and inoculated with A. tumefaciens carrying the pFHI-GUSi expression vector, which carries the nptII selectable marker and intron-GUS reporter genes, followed by selection on a semi-solid medium containing geneticin. Putative transgenic events showed expression of the GUS gene at all tested developmental stages from callus to plantlets, and transgene presence in the leaves of regenerated plants was confirmed using PCR. The overall average transformation efficiency achieved was 14.5 transgenic events per gram of tissue. Transgenic somatic seedlings of two white ash and three green ash genotypes were produced and acclimated to greenhouse conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Principles of Tree Biology in the Omics Era)
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19 pages, 7673 KiB  
Article
Morpho-Histology, Endogenous Hormone Dynamics, and Transcriptome Profiling in Dacrydium Pectinatum during Male Cone Development
by Wenju Lu, Enbo Wang, Weijuan Zhou, Yifan Li, Zhaoji Li, Xiqiang Song, Jian Wang, Mingxun Ren, Donghua Yang, Shaojie Huo, Ying Zhao and Haiying Liang
Forests 2021, 12(11), 1598; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12111598 - 19 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1942
Abstract
Dacrydium pectinatum de Laubenfels is a perennial gymnosperm species dominant in tropical montane rain forests. Due to severe damages by excessive deforestation, typhoons, and other external forces, the population of the species has been significantly reduced. Furthermore, its natural regeneration is poor. To [...] Read more.
Dacrydium pectinatum de Laubenfels is a perennial gymnosperm species dominant in tropical montane rain forests. Due to severe damages by excessive deforestation, typhoons, and other external forces, the population of the species has been significantly reduced. Furthermore, its natural regeneration is poor. To better understand the male cone development in D. pectinatum, we examined the morphological and anatomical changes, analyzed the endogenous hormone dynamics, and profiled gene expression. The morpho-histological observations suggest that the development of D. pectinatum male cone can be largely divided into four stages: microspore primordium formation (April to May), microspore sac and pollen mother cell formation (July to November), pollen mother cell division (January), and pollen grain formation (February). The levels of gibberellins (GA), auxin (IAA), abscisic Acid (ABA), cytokinin (CTK), and jasmonic acid (JA) fluctuated during the process of male cone development. The first transcriptome database for a Dacrydium species was generated, revealing >70,000 unigene sequences. Differential expression analyses revealed several floral and hormone biosynthesis and signal transduction genes that could be critical for male cone development. Our study provides new insights on the cone development in D. pectinatum and the foundation for male cone induction with hormones and studies of factors contributing to the species’ low rate of seed germination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Principles of Tree Biology in the Omics Era)
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16 pages, 3045 KiB  
Article
Comparative Proteomic Analysis of Leaves at Different Ages in Allotriploid Populus
by Jiang Li, Yi Wang, Hairong Wei and Xiangyang Kang
Forests 2020, 11(11), 1154; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11111154 - 30 Oct 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1916
Abstract
Triploid poplar trees have been shown to have a number of growth advantages, especially much bigger leaves that contribute greatly to the increased biomass. In this study, we focused on the relationships between leaf age and leaf metabolism in triploids. We performed comparative [...] Read more.
Triploid poplar trees have been shown to have a number of growth advantages, especially much bigger leaves that contribute greatly to the increased biomass. In this study, we focused on the relationships between leaf age and leaf metabolism in triploids. We performed comparative proteomic analysis of the 5th (FDR5), 10th (FDR10), and 25th (FDR25) leaves from the apical meristems in allotriploids originated from first-division restitution (FDR). A total of 1970, 1916, and 1850 proteins were identified in the FDR5, FDR10, and FDR25, respectively. Principle component analysis (PCA) and differentially accumulated protein (DAP) analysis showed that FDR10 and FDR25 displayed higher similarities of protein accumulation patterns as compared to FDR5. MapMan enrichment analysis showed that several primary metabolic pathways or processes were significantly enriched in the DAPs. For example, photosynthesis, major CHO metabolism, glycolysis, N metabolism, redox, C1-metabolism, DNA, and protein turnover were significantly altered in both FDR10 and FDR25 compared with FDR5. In addition, amino acid metabolism and gluconeogenesis/glyoxylate cycle also underwent significant changes in FDR25 compared with FDR5. However, only amino acid metabolism was significantly enriched in the DAPs between FDR25 and FDR10. Further, DAP accumulation pattern analysis implied that FDR5, FDR10, and FDR25 were placed in the young, mature, and primary senescence stages of leaves. The most DAPs involved in the light reaction, photorespiration, Calvin cycle, starch and sucrose metabolism, pentose phosphate pathway (OPP), tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle, N metabolism, and C1-metabolism displayed higher accumulation in both FDR10 and FDR25 compared to FDR5. However, the most DAPs that are involved in cell wall and lipid metabolism, tetrapyrrole synthesis, nucleotide metabolism exhibited lower accumulation in both FDR10 and FDR25. Almost all DAPs between FDR-10 and FDR-25 showed a dramatic decrease in FDR25. KEGG enrichment analysis showed that carbon metabolism was altered significantly at different leaf ages. DAPs that are involved in carbon metabolism were predicted as different points in protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks from the STRING database. Finally, inconsistent transcript and protein abundance was found for DAPs, indicating the presence of posttranscriptional regulation during leaf-age progression process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Principles of Tree Biology in the Omics Era)
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