Special Issue of Forests: “Genetic Control of Forest Tree Traits”

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907) will focus on Genetic control of forest tree traits and their interaction with the environment.

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 25 August 2021.

Guest editor: Dr. Rosario Garcia Gil

We call for research works in the field of forest genetics that advance our understanding on the genetic control of forest tree traits of economic and ecological value, and their interaction with a changing environment. We encourage research works that provide novel models for the implementation of genomics and remote sensing tools to accelerate and assist forest genetic adaptation to secure production and biodiversity.

More information: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/forests/special_issues/tree_traits_gene

Image: Kurt Bouda, Pixabay

EVOLTREE Online Seminar Series on Polygenic adaptation

EVOLTREE has launched a series of online seminars about polygenic adaptation in trees and other organisms. The events will be streamed on YouTube and recorded.

Variation in complex phenotypic traits, like growth, is known to be driven by many genes. For example, it has been shown that the height of humans is associated with thousands of regions in the genome. Approaches for detecting polygenic signals from genomic data, however, are still scarce and rarely applied. This seminar series aims to promote an exchange of knowledge among scientists working on polygenic adaptation in disparate organisms with the objective of facilitating development and wider uptake of the latest approaches.


28 October 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Jonathan Pritchard: ‘Architecture and adaptation of human complex traits’

4 November 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Emily Josephs ‘The evolutionary forces shaping gene expression variation’

18 November 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Sam Yeaman ‘A tale of two architectures: Local adaptation under migration-selection balance’

25 November 2020, 16:30-18.00 CET
Neda Barghi: ‘Polygenic adaptation in Drosophila’

More information

Registration: here.

The seats in the live sessions are limited to 100. All those registered participants who won’t make it to the virtual room because of the limited places are invited to follow the seminar on the EVOLTREE YouTube channel.


Image: Pete Linforth, Pixabay

Webinar: The Planter’s Guide: a benchmark for climate-adapted FRM deployment recommendations


Our B4EST webinar held on 10 December introduced the Planter’s Guide.

The Planter’s Guide is a web-based decision support tool for improved Scots pine forest reproductive material (FRM) in Sweden and Finland. By selecting a regeneration site, the Planter’s Guide ranks all available seed orchards according to their predicted areal production over a rotation. However, as both growth and survival ability are shown separately the user can use this information for a more detailed selection.

Find out more about the Planter’s Guide


Introduction: Rach Colling, European Forest Institute

Presentation: Mats Berlin, Skogforsk 

Live testing of the tool: Mats Berlin, Skogforsk



Download Mats’ presentation

Background paper:
Scots pine transfer effect models for growth and survival in Sweden and Finland

YouTube link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qwqYVy8PxeM


XXV IUFRO World Congress, 2019

The XXV IUFRO World Congress will be held in Curitiba, Brazil from 29 September to 5 October 2019.

Several researchers involved with the B4EST project will be presenting at the Congress:

  • 1.10.2019 Agathe Hurel, INRA

Genetic variation, trade-offs and association genetics for growth, bud burst and pathogen susceptibility in maritime pine

This work is related to both WP1 (genetic variation) and WP2 (trade-offs)

  • 5.10.2019 Santiago C. González-Martínez, INRA

Negative selection and polygenic adaptation in maritime pine

This research is part of the work done in maritime pine for WP2, in collaboration with INIA and CNR (among others).

  • 5.10.2019 Mateusz Liziniewicz, Skogforsk

The status of forest trees breeding in Sweden and realized genetic gain in Norway spruce breeding program


Several sessions are of interest to the B4EST community:

Further details can be found here: http://iufro2019.com/technical-sessions/


Image of Botanic Gardens: Hezaro, Pixabay

EVOLTREE Scientific seminar: genetic adaptation research for future forests

17 September 2019, Aberdeen

The EVOLTREE Scientific Seminar will explore the ways in which forest tree genetics can be applied to increase local adaptation and resilience in future forests.

New genetic and genomics approaches, including new-generation breeding strategies, have great potential to harness natural genetic variation to promote forest health and productivity, in particular in the face of global disturbances, such as climate change, land fragmentation and emerging pests and diseases.

Speakers include:

Delphine Grivet (INIA) – “Using genomics to characterize evolutionary potential for conservation”
Christophe Orazio (EFI) – “REINFFORCE: First results from 35 forest tree species plasticity assessment in common gardens along the Atlantic Coast, from Portugal to Scotland”
Duncan Ray (Forest Research) – “Using climate projection uncertainty to select FRM for future forest sites”
Santiago C. González-Martínez (INRA) – “Gene networks and polygenic adaptation in two conifers with contrasted demography, maritime pine and English yew”

Sue Jones (The James Hutton Institute) – “Could viruses pose a threat to native tree species?”
Markus Müller (University of Göttingen)- “Investigation of adaptive genetic variation in European beech by means of candidate gene and transcriptome analyses”
Emma Bush (CEH) – “Tropical tree phenology in a time of change’”
Lindsay Banin (CEH) – “Intra- and interspecific leaf trait variation, decomposition processes and the ‘home-field advantage’ in European woodlands”

More information

View the programme


Photo: Felix Mittermeier/pixabay

Training workshop on Methods in forest conservation genetics

December 10-13, 2019 at INIA, Madrid, Spain

As part of Gentree project (www.gentree-h2020.eu) dissemination and training activities, this workshop aims to provide a general conceptual background and hands-on experience in the analysis of molecular and quantitative genetic data, and of trait-based species distribution models (ΔTraitSDM), for conservation genetics relevant problems in tree species. Emphasis will be on statistical and modelling tools, rather than on the data acquisition process.

Topics will cover: summary of relevant population genetic parameters in conservation; estimation of effective population size and inbreeding; estimation of genetic connectivity and introgression; surveying genome-wide molecular diversity in natural populations; inferences of selection and historical demography; design and analysis of common garden experiments to assess adaptive quantitative genetic variation and phenotypic plasticity; estimation of additive genetic variance, heritability and evolvability; trait-based species distribution models (ΔTraitSDM) as forecast tools for genetic conservation.

Registration is free and the organization will cover the accommodation expenses, breakfast and lunches of up to 20 students.

The application deadline is July 25th, please visit the workshop’s website below for application instructions, the list of instructors, contact information, and other details:


Photo: Markus Spiske, Unsplash

Training workshop on “Concepts and tools for optimum selection in forest tree breeding”

28-30 October 2019, HÖÖR, Sweden
More information

Organised by the GENTREE project.
Participants: forest managers and practitioners, forest breeders
Deadline for application: 15 June 2019

Tree breeders must often consider conservation of genetic diversity, while at the same time they attempt to maximize genetic response to selection. This challenge is common to management of populations for both gene conservation and elite breeding, as well as to assembly of deployment populations, such as seed orchards and mixtures of selected clones. GenTree has developed several tools and advanced methods for addressing this challenge.

The purpose of this course is to provide participants with the background and user-skills necessary to apply these tools correctly in the context of applied forest tree breeding programs. Different tools for “optimum selection” will be presented, such as “OPSEL”, which uses state-of-the-art mathematical approaches to optimize selection with a specified constraint on gene diversity. Other approaches include managing genetic diversity at the genomic level to guarantee short- and long-term genetic gains or levels of fitness, notably under genomic-evaluation scenarios.

After “optimizing” genetic contributions to a selected population, the practitioner still faces the daunting task of preparing mating plans that respect these contributions, while avoiding excessive relatedness between parents. A generalized tool “XDesign” makes this task straightforward, allowing the user to specify a threshold on the maximum acceptable coancestry between mates.

The training will show the concepts and functioning of several strategies to account explicitly for diversity across the genome of candidates during selection and mating steps in the context of breeding and conservation programs. Breeding strategy evaluation will be addressed with R-scripts and the simulation package “POPSIM’.

More information: Johan Westin (Skogforsk, johan.westin@skogforsk.se)

Photo: Stocksnap/Pixabay