Hardwood Genomics Resources Project Completed

Posted: June 26, 2016

The “Hardwood Genomics Project”, completed in July 2015, developed genome resources for a wide phylogenetic distribution of ecologically and economically important broadleaf forest tree species in eastern North America. The resources include deep EST databases, annotated transcript sequences for identification of stress-response candidate genes, reagents for marker assisted selection of stress-tolerance, and tools for management of genetic diversity.
Project team, meeting at Michigan Tech University, August 2014.

Project team, meeting at Michigan Tech University, August 2014.

John Carlson, Director of The Schatz Center, received a $3.7 million grant from the National Science Foundation, in 2011, to develop genomics resources to address forest-health issues affecting hardwood trees.  The Hardwood Genomics Project was completed in July, 2015.  The project's goal was to generate genetic and genomic resources for a broad taxonomic distribution of hardwood tree species.  Over 4 years, the project generated >245 Gbases of EST sequence data for black walnut (BW, Juglans nigra), blackgum (BG, Nyssa sylvatica), green ash (GA, Fraxinus pennsylvanica), honeylocust (HL, Gleditsia triacanthos), northern red oak (NRO, Quercus rubra), sugar maple (SM, Acer saccharum), yellow-poplar (YP, Liriodendron tulipifera), and sweetgum (SG, Liquidambar styraciflua) from tissues of seedlings grown in greenhouses under various abiotic stress conditions (drought, heat, cold, wounding, and ozone), and multiple tissues from their parent trees.  Genomic and EST-based SNPs and SSRs were identified for all of the species, and were used for preliminary genetic diversity estimates, to develop mapping populations by paternity analysis, and to construct genetic linkage maps (for NRO, BW, GA, YP, and HL).  BAC libraries were constructed for NRO and BW, from which 192 NRO and BW BAC clones harboring candidate genes associated with dormancy, biotic stress or flowering were sequenced.  Differential gene expression and network analyses focusing on uncovered both shared and unique responses to environmental stresses in defense, photosynthesis, mitochondrial respiration, and senescence pathways. All data are publicly available and searchable online at the project website (  This project was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation’s Plant Genome Research Program (IOS-1025974).