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We have produced the largest population of activation-tagged poplar trees to date, approximately 1800 independent lines, and report on phenotypes of interest that have been identified in tissue culture and greenhouse conditions. Activation tagging is an insertional mutagenesis technique that results in the dominant upregulation of an endogenous gene. A large-scale Agrobacterium- mediated transformation protocol was used to transform the pSKI074 activation-tagging vector into Populus tremula x Populus alba hybrid poplar. We have screened the first 1000 lines for developmental abnormalities and have a visible mutant frequency of 2.4%, with alterations in leaf and stem structure as well as overall stature. Most of the phenotypes represent new phenotypes that have not previously been identified in poplar and, in some cases, not in any other plant either. Molecular analysis of the T-DNA inserts of a subpopulation of mutant lines reveal both single and double T-DNA inserts with double inserts more common in lines with visible phenotypes. The broad range of developmental mutants identified in this pilot screen of the population reveals that it will be a valuable resource for gene discovery in poplar. The full value of this population will only be realized as we screen these lines for a wide range of phenotypes. © 2007 NRC.

Original publication




Journal article


Canadian Journal of Botany

Publication Date





1071 - 1081