The past 15 years of research in the molecular dissection of complex traits important for tree adaptation and improvement represent a remarkable convergence of public funding and multi-institution, multi-investigator collaborations suggested by the entities and relationships in the figure at right. The individual entities in the figure are links to detailed information about those projects or organizations.
Investments in conifer genetics were made by the major US public funding sources for plant genomics research, the USDA CSREES and the US National Science Foundation Plant Genome Research Program (NSF PGRP). Building on the groundwork of early markers and genetic maps and mapped QTLs, several large-scale projects accelerated the pace of linking traits with markers and optimized the technology platforms for efficient high-throughput use with conifers. Examples of some specific projects in this lineage of work include:
The ADEPT Project (Allele Discovery of Economic Pine Traits), which was funded by the USDA CSREES Initiative for Future Agriculture and Food Systems (IFAFS) and identified single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers within candidate genes controlling economically important traits in loblolly pine.
The ADAPT Project (USDA CSREES National Research Initiative funding) which generated marker/trait associations in Douglas fir.
The ADEPT2 Project (NSF PGRP funded) which further added to the SNP database by taking advantage of high-throughput sequencing technology to resequence amplicons from candidate genes from a range-wide sample of loblolly pine.
In these projects the associations made between the markers and the traits were validated in experimental 'discovery' populations created solely for the purpose of these specific genomic analyses. Now a task in this CTGN project is to validate these associations in the actual operational tree-breeding populations in use by our collaborating tree improvement cooperatives.