A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Sunday, May 08, 2005
Posted 4:49 PM by Luigi
GM-free tree improvement in the Pacific Islands
The following is from Dr Lex Thompson, SPRIG Project Team Leader.
In response to concerns on genetic modification of tree species in the Asia-Pacific region, I am passing on the following statement received from Mr Tim Vercoe (General Manager-Genetics in ensis – a fairly recent CSIRO FPP/NZFR joint venture): “We have no intention of running any transgenic projects out of ensis but the remaining bits of NZFR that are (and will remain) outside of ensis have work in this area on radiata pine.”
In fact, in partnership with SPRIG/CSIRO, the Research Sections in the Forestry Departments in the Pacific Islands (Fiji, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu) are achieving outstanding improvement growth and other economically important characters in high priority tree species using conventional (non-GM) plant breeding methods.
Some examples include:
Endospermum medullosum (whitewood) in Vanuatu where growth rates of 22-29 m3 ha-1 yr-1 have been achieved for best provenance and family after 4 years (this is more than 30-50% greater than other sources).
Santalum species (sandalwood) in Fiji where fastest growing hybrid trees have reached a height of 8-9 m and basal diameter or 20-26 cm and started forming heartwood after 6-7 years (these trees will produce high quality heartwood in about half the time of sandalwood from unimproved materials).
Swietenia macrophylla (mahogany) in Fiji where families/provenances have been identified which grow 50% faster in wood volume than currently planted sources, and with outstanding stem form.
Tectona grandis (teak) in Solomon Islands, where individuals from a clonal seed orchard have grown to 10 m height in just 14 months.
Terminalia catappa (sea almond) in Vanuatu where plants from selected individuals have reached 17 m height in four years and began producing superior nuts within 18 months of planting.
These results has been achieved through using simple domestication processes, involving selection of superior populations/individuals: in coming years conventional breeding will amplify these gains. SPRIG’s Pacific partners are adopting the same conventional breeding practices pioneered for tropical tree species by the Australian Tree Seed Centre/ CSIRO working in partnership with FAO, CTFT/CIRAD-Foret, DANIDA FSC and Oxford Forestry Institute and others.
I hope this clarifies the approach to tree improvement within the Pacific Islands, and assisted by SPRIG/AusAID.
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