Return to Skip Menu

Main Navigation

Return to Skip Menu

Main Content

Forestry geneticists developing hardy biomass trees


   

Amy Brunner Amy Brunner leads a project researching the genetic regulatory networks of populus, an important bioenergy crop.

Nov. 15, 2014 – Associate Professor Amy Brunner is using a $1.4 million grant to investigate the genetic regulatory networks that will allow an important bioenergy crop to be bred to grow in marginal soils and climates. Populus, commonly known as cottonwoods and aspens, is being grown for bioenergy because it produces a significant amount of biomass, which can be converted in to liquid fuels such as ethanol, in only two years.

“The goal is to develop the species so it will not become dormant in conditions, such as high temperature, drought, or marginal soil nutrients, that would stress other crops,” Brunner said. “We don’t want biomass production to compete with food production. The aim is to minimize inputs, develop varieties that grow in different environments, and maximize biomass production.”

Brunner and Associate Professor Jason Holliday are experimenting with the FT2 gene, which regulates vegetative growth, to understand growth and dormancy transitions. “We will identify specific control points that can be manipulated to maximize growth in different environments,” Brunner explained. “If we understand the network, we can use that in a breeding program for optimal biomass production in specific climates and on marginal lands.”

Read the full press release.


25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years

    1992 through 2017, 25 years

Join us Sept. 15-16 to visit campus and reconnect with alumni, faculty, staff, and friends.

Celebrate with Us

Read the Summer Newsmagazine

    CNRE Newsmagazine Spring 2017


Select a Major

We have 11 majors for you to choose from with over 10 options to specialize in. Select yours now and join us in bringing the future to nature.