Mr Nganea Nangammbi
Eucalyptus and Populus represents some of the most important wood biomass sources. Wood biomass generated from these species is used in many applications such as paper, textile, and biofuel production. Tapping into these and other applications requires complete deconstruction of wood into its primary constituents, however, the overall wood composition presents challenges during the processing step. To this end, gene editing has been extensively used to alter wood developmental genes with an objective of generating woody plants that can be easily processed. However, these reverse genetics approach relies largely depends on the line of evidence approach, which entails knowing which genes are involved in which functions before manipulating them, therefore, the phenotype observed here may not be the desired. In my study, we are moving away from the reverse genetics approach, instead, we aim to identify and validate the natural genetic variation that exist across population of Eucalyptus and Populus. This will allow us to establish natural mutations that are associated with important wood development traits without having to knockout random genes through genetic engineering.