The Conifer Translational Genomics Network (CTGN) is an Integrated Coordinated Agricultural Project with the goal of bringing marker-assisted breeding (MAB) to application for tree-breeding cooperatives that provide over 1.3 billion seedlings annually in the United States. MAB will have significant impact in conifers due to: (1) long breeding cycle times, (2) biological and societal limits to genetic engineering, (3) abundant genetic variation can be accessed through markers, and (4) rapid decline of linkage disequilibrium allows SNPs within candidate genes to be directly associated with phenotypes. We will leverage over 50 years of tree breeding experience and population development with 15 years of experience in the molecular dissection of complex traits to develop MAS/MAB tools that accelerate the rate of tree breeding. SNP by quantitative trait associations will be validated by genotyping 10,000 trees for 7600 select SNPs in operational breeding populations. Methods for implementing MAS/MAB in applied tree breeding programs will be defined and economically evaluated. Project outcomes will be delivered directly to breeders and documented in databases offered at this website. An assertive and comprehensive education and outreach program will provide widespread training for school teachers, undergraduate and graduate students, tree breeders, managers, lay-people, and other stakeholders. CTGN will draw from or deliver to virtually all conifer genomics scientists and tree breeders in the United States.
Links to the left provide detailed description of the CTGN and its organization and information about the people involved. More details about the background of tree breeding and molecular genetics research upon which this project builds can be found here.