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IUFRO Genomics and forest tree genetics

Sessions description

The objective of this conference - that seeks to join researchers from the four working parties of IUFRO subdivision 2.4 (Forest Genetics) - is to  present and discuss new scientific findings in the area of population, quantitative and evolutionary genetics and how they can be applied in genetic resource conservation and breeding.

Participants may submit contributions from empirical, experimental and theoretical works, in the following categories that addresses key forefront science and applied issues:

Session 1

Genetic architecture of local adaptation and species boundaries

This session will focus on the evolutionary processes leading to changes in locally adaptive genetic (or epigenetic) variants and their role to promote or hinder species divergence. The studies presented herein will thus survey structural and/or gene expression variation to undercover these processes and their relation to species history. They will also include those showing how the diversity of keystone species shape/affect the diversity of entire communities and vice-versa (i.e. community genetics, metagenomics, facilitation, etc.)

Session 2

Linking phenotype,  genotype  & environment

How genomic changes affect phenotypic and ecological traits is a primary focus of this session. Both forward genomics approaches (using single pedigree, mutiple-pedigreed populations and natural populations) to identify loci/genes/alleles underlying phenotypic variation, as well as approaches that put the landscape into genomics to identify adaptive genetic variations and spatial patterns, are considered here. A second focus is phenomics and integration of new phenotypes (from greenhouse automation imaging systems, remote sensing in the field, extended phenotype, etc.) with genomic data. While the amount of DNA information is virtually unlimited, more effective and reliable phenotyping data still represent a bottleneck for modern forest tree genetics.

Session 3

Abiotic stress responses & biotic interactions

Ever-continuing advances in functionalgenomics and epigenomics enable rapid progress in our understanding of how trees respond (plasticity) and evolve (natural selection) to biotic interactions and abiotic stresses. In this session, both field and lab experiments are considered that include a genetic dimension that aims to decipher the molecular mechanisms that matter for tree adaptation, i.e. molecular mechanisms (being genetic and epigenetic) that regulate gene expression, how they evolve and how they contribute to phenotypic changes.

Session 4

Phylogenetics and genomic evolution

This session deals with evolutionary relationships within and among tree species across a wide spectrum of phylogenetic depths, from populations to deep lineages. The session encompasses phylogeography and population demography versus selection signals for shallow lineages, as well as molecular taxonomy, phylogenomics and biogeography of related taxa. How ancient DNA analysis can contribute to our understanding of micro-evolutionary rates is also a focus. Genome evolution is considered in this session, from fine-scale diversity patterns at single nucleotides to large chromosomal arrangements, as well as comparative approaches to genome evolution or diversity patterns across taxa ranges.

Session 5

Using genomics to meet the conservation and breeding challenges of the 21st century

This session will consider how genomic tools and methods are, can and should be used in an integrated way (also considering phenotypic and environmental information) in order to:

  • better characterize forest genetic resources and improve conservation strategies, e.g. by reassessing and expanding as needed ex-situ and in-situ collections and breeding zones;
  • design novel tree breeding schemes  (e.g. polymix breeding, genomic selection, ...) including traits and genes of current and option value;
  • model population micro-evolutionary processes in response to climate change (e.g. for improving species distribution scenarios).

Session 6

Resources, tools and methods

This session will focus on current and emerging methods, tools, and strategies for the assembly and analysis of complex tree genomes. Descriptions of laboratory methods for the generation of genomic datasets, software tools for analysis of data, or database systems for management, curation, and distribution of data from forest tree species are appropriate for this session. Submission of proposed presentations are welcomed in the following areas:

  • Assembly of complex genomes and annotation of genomic features, along with tools and resources for distributing, accessing, or analysing genomic data;
  • Approaches in systems biology and systems genetics to merge genomic and phenotypic datasets in the analysis of genetic networks, or synthetic biology approaches for trait improvement or introduction of novel traits;
  • Population-based approaches for the discovery or analysis of gene function or patterns of genetic differentiation, such as gene duplication events, large-scale linkage disequilibrium or population diversity, or genomic organization, and how these features relate to adaptation.