Rosario Garcia5060 042409 MPN 1150x766

Last Thursday, Formas officially approved a new project led by Rosario García Gil, group leader at UPSC. The project aims to compare different wood structures that have developed during evolution. The researchers want to identify key regulators of wood formation that might be useful for optimising modern tree breeding.

Using genetics and genomics tools, Rosario García Gil and her group will analyse which factors are involved in regulating wood formation in different woody plant species. They will compare two angiosperm and two gymnosperm tree species that have developed different wood architectures during evolution.

In angiosperms (or flowering plants), wood vessels and fibres, which are certain specialised cell types, conduct water along the stem. Gymnosperms (vascular plants with seeds but without flowers or fruit) have not evolved water conducting vessels. Solely wood fibers perform the water transport. These fibers are often longer and have a different lignin composition than in angiosperm trees.

“Regarding wood architecture, aspen and spruce are typical representatives of angiosperm respective gymnosperm trees”, says Rosario García Gil. “We want to compare wood formation in both tree species with each other but also include two exotic tree species that have evolved an intermediate wood architecture.”

These two species are Gnetum gnemon, a gymnosperm tree that has evolved vessels, and Drimys winteri (Winteracea), an angiosperm tree that has lost vessels during evolution.

“By comparing the genetic architecture of these different woody species, we hope to identify key factors involved in wood formation and provide a novel molecular tool box for trans-species breeding of wood properties”, explains Rosario García Gil. “This information will contribute to the shift towards a bio-based economy”.

Rosario García Gil, Associate Professor at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, started her research group at the Umeå Plant Science Centre in 2005. She focusses in her research on forest tree genetics and breeding with emphasis on traits like wood formation that have an economic value.

Title of the granted project:
Inter-species comparative Evo-Devo study for the dissection of the genetic architecture of wood properties: Towards a forest bio-based economy

Link to the announcement from Formas

For more information please contact:
Rosario García Gil
Umeå Plant Science Centre
Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology
Phone: +46 (0)90 786 8413
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.