Clonal Field Tests

The implementation of somatic embryogenesis in forestry has already begun at Weyerhaeuser, and several other forestry -organizations worldwide have begun the establishment of clonal field tests and corresponding clone banks of cryogenically stored ESM (Figure 29.4). Performance of the individual genotypes in these tests will be carefully measured to identify outstanding genotypes as soon as possible. During this evaluation period (5+ years), continuing R&D is expected to bring the costs of somatic embryogenesis and manufactured seed technologies within acceptable limits. The selected genetic material will be retrieved from the clone bank, then multiplied and treated to produce embryos in

Fig. 29.4. A vision of 21st century forest biotechnology. Somatic embryos are regenerated from ESM of control crossed seeds from elite families (top left). A sample of ESM from each genotype is stored cryogenically (center) and the rest are used to produce somatic seedlings for clonal performance (left). After 5-15 years, field performance data is used to select clones, which are then scaled up in a bioreactor from cryostored ESM (center). Mature embryos are selected by machine vision and transported for manufactured seed production, which are machine sown in forest nurseries (right). Genes conferring specifically desired traits may be inserted into the ESM of selected clones before their multiplication, for the production of genetically improved forests.

Fig. 29.4. A vision of 21st century forest biotechnology. Somatic embryos are regenerated from ESM of control crossed seeds from elite families (top left). A sample of ESM from each genotype is stored cryogenically (center) and the rest are used to produce somatic seedlings for clonal performance (left). After 5-15 years, field performance data is used to select clones, which are then scaled up in a bioreactor from cryostored ESM (center). Mature embryos are selected by machine vision and transported for manufactured seed production, which are machine sown in forest nurseries (right). Genes conferring specifically desired traits may be inserted into the ESM of selected clones before their multiplication, for the production of genetically improved forests.

larger vessels or bioreactors. Mature embryos will be harvested with the aid of a machine vision system, and fed to a manufactured seed assembly line to produce the quantities needed for reforestation. Manufactured seed will be storable, and sown through standard container facilities or nurseries.

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