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Population genomics in forest trees based on reduced representation genome sequencing - Ksenya Zakharova - Russia

Awarded: NOK 84,000

Previously, genetic characterization and population genetics on forest trees have been based on very few molecular markers, typically isozymes, microsatellites or cytoplasmic markers, gaining a poor coverage of the genome. Recent developments in reduced-r epresentation genome sequencing have brought direct sequencing closer to population genotyping. To enable genome wide profiling analyses, the Norwegian forest and landscape institute has developed a double digest Restriction Associated Digest (ddRAD) tag protocol to fit our next generation sequencing system Ion Torrent PGM. Currently, population genomics in both Norway spruce and ash are being done at the Norwegian forest and landscape institute, using these methods in two on-going research projects. For some forest tree species important to Europe, most of their ranges are in Russia, this is particular true for Norway spruce (P. abies) and ash (Fraxinus excelsior). Norway spruce genetic structure has been studied extensively, still samples from Russia is limited and need to be extended to gain knowledge of the species on a full range. In Russia and Siberia, Norway spruce co-occur with the closely related taxa Siberian spruce (P. obovata) and together they occupy a vast parapatric area covering almost the entire boreal zone of northern Eurasia. Still, very little is known about their genetic differentiation, the extend of hybridization and how hybridization affects their genetic structure. Ash is currently threatened by the ash dieback disease and researc h on this species genetic structure is done for Europe. Knowledge on ash genetic structure also from Russia, may enhance the detection of resistant genotypes for future breeding. Ksenia Zakharova will during her stay work within ongoing current projects a t our institute to gain knowledge on next- generation sequencing, and also do a pilot study of her Russian samples and combine this data with data produced for the species from other parts of their ranges.

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