Group of Forest Biotechnology

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Konstantin Shestibratov

  • Russia, Moscow, Ul. Miklukho-Maklaya 16/10 — On the map
  • IBCh RAS, build. ФИБХ, office. Изотоп./211
  • Phone: +7(4967)33-09-66#3133
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Early Detection and Identification of the Main Fungal Pathogens for Resistance Evaluation of New Genotypes of Forest Trees

Growing importance of forest plantations increases the demand for phytopathogen resistant forest trees. This study describes an effective method for the early detection and identification of the main fungal phytopathogens in planting material of silver birch (Betula pendula) and downy birch (B. pubescens) based on the estimation of size of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) in the 18S-5.8S-28S rDNA gene cluster, which are species-specific for most micromycetes. Electrophoretic assay of the ITS1 and ITS2 loci allowed us to identify the predominant phytopathogenic fungal species in downy and silver birch in planta. This new molecular genetic method can be used to screen birch and other forest trees for different fungal pathogens in evaluation of disease resistance. This information can be useful in breeding of new genotypes of forest trees including transgenic clones with modified wood composition. Example of two computer-generated electrophoregrams with multiple peaks representing species-specific fungal and host plant (B. pendula) amplicon DNA fragments from the two PCR-amplified samples of DNA isolated from infected silver birch leaf (A) and shoot (B)tissues, amplified using the ITS1-ITS2 primer pair combination and separated in the capillary gel electrophoresis using an ABI Prism 310 Genetic Analyzer. Brown peaks represent DNA fragments of the GeneScan™ 500 LIZ™ dye Size Standard.

Variety of downy birch (Betula pubescens Ehrh.) Belros-3

Birch is the main forest-forming deciduous tree species of the Russian Federation, occupying 15% of the forest area. Until now, not one birch variety has been registered in the State Register of Breeding Achievements. For the first time in Russia, a new variety of downy birch was created that differs from non-selective genotypes by high stability of various growth characteristics, increased productivity and increased sizes of wood fiber. The genotype can be used in short-rotation forest plantations.