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Evaluation of genetic fidelity following long term cryopreservation of coniferous forest tree species of the family Pinaceae

Haggman, H., Sutela, S., Edesi, J., Krajnakova, J., Bertolini, A., Vianello, A., Ryynanen, L., Aronen, T.
Acta horticulturae 2014 no.1039 pp. 121-126
Abies alba, Abies cephalonica, Picea abies, Pinus sylvestris, carbon sinks, climate change, conifers, cryopreservation, forest trees, forests, fossil fuels, genetic markers, germplasm, germplasm conservation, plantation forestry, progeny testing, tree breeding, wood
Forests cover more than 4 billion ha of the Earth's surface and their importance as a carbon sink is enormous. The world's inhabitants already officially consume 3.4 billion m3 of wood per year, and it is desirable to increase it further in order to displace fossil fuel usage. Consequences of climate change and the increasing world population will affect both the area as well as the distribution of forest species and will emphasize the need for germplasm conservation. Many forest tree species, especially conifers, are characterized by long rotation times and regeneration intervals as well as by large size. Traditionally, the conservation strategies of forest trees are based on in situ and ex situ conservation and as a complementary system, cryopreservation is used as an additional or duplicate way of conserving germplasm. The role of cryopreservation is especially prominent in connection with tree breeding programs, when the breeding material needs to be safely conserved during progeny testing. We have cryostored embryogenic cultures of the coniferous species of Pinaceae family including Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.), Norway spruce (Picea abies L. Karst.), silver fir (Abies alba Mill.) and Greek fir (Abies cephalonica Loud.), with successful recovery rates. For conservation purpose but also for future plantation forestry, genetic fidelity is of utmost importance. However, the determination of genetic fidelity is challenging with traditional DNA markers as there are potential obstacles when material that has been cryopreserved for a long time is re-evaluated.