Forest Tree Genomics: Review of Progress
Parent GJ., Raherison E., Sena J., MacKay JJ.
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Forest tree genomics is progressing at an accelerated pace owing to recent developments in next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies. With NGS, genomics research has simultaneously gained in speed, magnitude and scope. In the last few years, the first conifer genomes at a staggering size of 20-24 gigabases and the genomes of several hardwood trees have been sequenced and analyzed. Biological insights have resulted from these sequencing initiatives as well as from genetic mapping, gene expression profiling and gene discovery research over nearly two decades. This review emphasizes major areas of progress in forest tree genomics, including insights into genome evolution, genome function arising from large-scale gene expression profiling, the genomic architecture of quantitative traits and the population genomics of adaptation. We discuss future directions in these areas with potential inputs from NGS technologies and propose avenues for developing a more integrated understanding of genetic diversity and its impacts on genome function. These directions promise to sustain research aimed at addressing emerging challenges in forestry and produce applied outputs to preserve, enhance and responsibly use world forests.