Cloning Tree Embryos
University of Saskatchewan biologists have developed new methods for propagating spruce and other coniferous trees, providing promising new tools for forest biotechnology.
The methods, which involve a cloning technique called somatic embryogenesis, will enable the forest industry to produce thousands of identical embryos from a single conifer seed. These propagation methods are not only of great significance scientifically, but they could lead to genetic improvement of conifers and more efficient forest tree propagation. Potentially, selected genes could be introduced into the cloned embryos, resulting in trees with disease and pest resistance. The U of S licensed the new methods to Pacific Biotechnologies, a British Columbia company.