Six genes for mechanical sensing isolated in rainforest trees

The paper published online on January 10 by Chevolot et al. (Tree genetics and Genomes, DOI 10.1007/s11295-010-0363-1) describes the isolation of six genes putatively involved in the activation of the response to mechanical stimuli (such as wind and imbalance) in five rainforest tree species. The genes are thought to play this role in tropical species because they have been found to activate mechanisms favouring mechanical stability in poplar. The present study is a follow-up of previous work that permitted to identify and describe genes involved in the regulation of tree water balance (aquaporins). Thus, the Ecological genetics Lab at EcoFoG continues to expand its activity in the characterisation of mechanisms allowing trees to adapt to their environment. The description of these genes will be followed soon by the characterisation of their diversity in natural populations, including the search for signatures of disruptive, directional and stabilising selection. In a previous study (Coutand et al. 2010) we had shown intra- and interspecific variation for mechanical response properties in these species.

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