Notification report

General information

Notification Number

Member State to which the notification was sent

Date of acknowledgement from the Member State Competent Authority

Title of the Project
Modification of wood properties

Proposed period of release:
01/08/2011 to 31/08/2016

Name of the Institute(s) or Company(ies)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), Department of Forest Genetics and Plant Physiology;

3. Is the same GMPt release planned elsewhere in the Community?

Has the same GMPt been notified elsewhere by the same notifier?

Genetically modified plant

Complete name of the recipient or parental plant(s)
Common NameFamily NameGenusSpeciesSubspeciesCultivar/breeding line
hybrid aspensalicaceaepopuluspopulus tremula x populus tremuloides-T89

2. Description of the traits and characteristics which have been introduced or modified, including marker genes and previous modifications:
This application consists of 8 different gene constructs. In each construct one gene in hybrid aspen has been up- or down- regulated. These constructs have been selected since they indicate modified wood properties such as chemical composition or wood density in greenhouse experiments.
Three different vectors were used: Genes introduced from these are:1) p35S followed by gene of interest in two inverted copies with an intron in between, followed by a terminator T35S, neomycin phosphotransferase NPT-II resistance marker gene driven by the Nos promoter. 2) p35S followed by gene of interest and a terminator T35S, neomycin phosphotransferase NPTII resistance marker gene driven by Nos-promoter.3) LMP1 promoter followed by gene of interest and terminator fom nopaline syntase (pANos), hygromycin phosphotransferase gene (HPT/Hyg) resistance marker gene driven by Nos promoter and bla (β-lactamase) with replicon from pBR322.
The 8 gene constructs each contains one trait gene or trait gene fragment. These genes code for proteins involved in carbohydrate metabolism, proteins involved in lignin biosynthesis, proteins involved in secondary metabolism, one transcription factor protein, one myb domain protein and one protein of unknown function. The gene source is hybrid aspen itself.

Genetic modification

3. Type of genetic modification:

In case of insertion of genetic material, give the source and intended function of each constituent fragment of the region to be inserted:
See 2. The intended function is to modify wood properties such as chemical composition or wood density.

6. Brief description of the method used for the genetic modification:
Agrobacterium mediated transformation

7. If the recipient or parental plant is a forest tree species, describe ways and extent of dissemination and specific factors affecting dissemination:
Hybrid aspen is wind polinated and produce wind-dispersed seeds. Hybrid aspen can also propagate from suckers.

Experimental Release

1. Purpose of the release:
The aim of the field study is to investigate transgenically modified wood properties in hybrid aspen under field conditions. We have identified species-specific genes that are highly and/or specifically transcribed in the wood forming tissues. Up- or down regulation of these transcripts have resulted in modified wood properties such as chemical composition or wood density. These studies have been done under greenhouse conditions where the trees have been harvested at a height of 1.5 m. By growing the trees under field conditions we will know if the modified traits are stabile during several years of growth in field. We will also investigate how growth and survival of these trees are affected by field conditions. Moreover, field trails will produce a significant amount of wood biomass (as opposed to greenhouse conditions), which will open the possibility to better investigate how mechanical properties and industrial processing of the wood depends on its chemical and ultra structural properties. If there is time and funding we are also interested in studying any effects of transgenic modification on herbivores and pathogens. This field study will have great value in evaluation the potential benefit of transgene technology for future breeding programmes.

2. Geographical location of the site:
VĂ„xtorp in Laholms municipial

3. Size of the site (m2):
about 1 ha

4. Relevant data regarding previous releases carried out with the same GM-plant, if any, specifically related to the potential environmental and human health impacts from the release:
The Department of Plant Physiology at Umeå University got approval for a field trial including genetically modified hybrid aspen (B/SE/11/12395). None of the genetic modifications are identical to the modifications in this application.

Environmental Impact and Risk Management

Summary of the potential environmental impact from the release of the GMPts:
We hope that some of the lines will show increased growth and altered wood properties. This may lead to better tree varieties for increased production of more-value wood for pulp and energy production using low input forest plantation systems.

Brief description of any measures taken for the management of risks:
Regular inspection for early detection of flower induction. It is possible to distinguish floral buds from vegetative buds before bud burst. If any line will show tendency of flowering all lines of corresponding construct will be eliminated. The site will be surrounded by a fence and a security zone will prevent suckers to spread out of or into the site. After harvest the remaining roots will be eliminated and the site will be inspected yearly for at least another three years.

Final report

European Commission administrative information

Consent given by the Member State Competent Authority:
01/07/2011 00:00:00
Consent to 7 gene constructs. Rejection of 1 gene construct.