Investigating the role of short RNAs on wood formation, cambium development and adaptation of poplar tree
Duration 3 years
Project leader Tamas Dalmay, University of East Anglia, UK
Other project participants Yrjö Helariutta, University of Helsinki, Finland
Eugene Berezikov, Hubrechts Institute, The Netherlands
Funding Short RNAs (sRNA) have been recently recognised as important gene expression regulators but little is known about their role in wood formation. This proposal is a concerted effort to use genomic tools to globally identify wood formation-associated sRNAs in the genome of model tree Populus trichocarpa (poplar). Poplar is an economically important non-food crop and we propose fundamental research orientated towards building the knowledge base for exploiting the potentials of this crop. We will identify the full sRNA content of five different tissues of poplar by high throughput sequencing. We will characterise sRNA expression profile in the cambial zone during development and seasonal cycle. The project will also assess the natural variation and biodiversity of poplar accessions at the sRNA level. mRNAs will be profiled in the same samples and target genes regulated by sRNAs will predicted and validated. The project will create synergies between three research teams with different expertise in order to help plant genomics-based technologies answer biological questions.