Summerville, South Carolina, USA, and Rotorua, New Zealand, 13 May 2010 – ArborGen, LLC and New Zealand Crown Research Institute Scion have agreed to extend their multimillion dollar partnership in gene discovery and molecular breeding for forest trees. Begun in 2006, the partnership has been successful in identifying gene traits associated with wood quality improvements in pine. The partnership has identified more than one hundred new genes to test in loblolly pine research being conducted at ArborGen.
“Our ongoing partnership with Scion brings together two leaders in forestry biotechnology, creating exciting synergies for breakthrough discoveries and product development,” said Barbara Wells, president and CEO of ArborGen.
Tom Richardson, Scion’s chief executive, predicts future plantation forests will be different to what they are now, with trees grown for a wider range of purposes in addition to traditional forest products, such as bioenergy and other biobased products. Over the next three years, the partnership will focus on developing and applying valuable traits, such as improved growth and superior wood quality, for both commercial forestry and biomaterials applications.
Elspeth MacRae, group manager of bioproduct development at Scion, and Maud Hinchee, chief science officer at ArborGen, see the potential of the collaboration as significant for the future of forestry, stating that even small incremental improvements in growth or wood density across the millions of trees planted annually in the United States and New Zealand will improve per acre productivity, relieving pressure on native forests while meeting an ever growing demand for wood, fiber, and energy.
“Biotechnology has the potential to solve enormous problems facing global forests, including increased demand, pollution, climate change mitigation, carbon sequestration, and disease and insect resistance,” said Greg Mann, general manager, ArborGen Australasia. “ArborGen is dedicated to improving tree performance and the productivity of purpose grown trees for a growing global economy. From bioenergy to pulp and paper, packaging, and lumber, trees produce through this partnership will produce more of what we need far more efficiently than we can do currently.”
ArborGen is a leader in tree improvement and the commercial production of trees. The company is dedicated to helping the global forest industry meet the growing demand for wood, pulp and paper, and energy in a more productive and sustainable way. With one of the world's most extensive tree germplasm resources, ArborGen uses traditional breeding and advanced genetic technologies to discover and produce high yield seedlings for our customers, allowing its customers to significantly increase the productivity of their forests and manufacturing processes. ArborGen's mission is to deliver superior performing trees through innovative science and world class customer service − every tree, every time. For more information, visit www.arborgen.com
Scion is a New Zealand Crown Research Institute focused on forests, forest products, and new biomaterials to meet growing consumer demand and increasing global needs for sustainably sourced products. For more information, visit www.scionresearch.com