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
Aspen as a model system for wood quality

Proposed period of release:
01/04/2014 to 31/12/2019

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?

If yes, notification number(s):

Other notifications
Partly B/SE/11/3992

Genetically modified plant

Complete name of the recipient or parental plant(s)
Common NameFamily NameGenusSpeciesSubspeciesCultivar/breeding line
hybrid aspensalicaceaepopuluspopulus tremula x populus tremuloides-T89 and S21K864012

2. Description of the traits and characteristics which have been introduced or modified, including marker genes and previous modifications:
This application consists of 23 different gene constucts that were designed to alter wood chemistry so that the wood quality is improved. The genes either alter xylan structure, or decrease lignin content, or decrease pectin content, or change the polysaccharide metabolism such that the wood chemistry is positively affected (increased saccharification potential, improved mechanical properties). The inserted marker genes are coming from 4 vectors, described in detail in B4, and the transferred sequences from these vectors include neomycin phosphotransferase (Kanamycin resistance), promotors of nopaline synthase, 35S, pPRR2 or WP, and terminator 35S. In one case the reporter genes encoding eGFP and beta glucuronidase (GUS) are used to monitor the expression stability and as a transgenic control.

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:
This application consists of 23 different gene constucts where 13 Populus genes were up- or down regulated, and two Arabidopsis orthologs to a Populus gene, one bacterial gene, and two fungal genes have been expressed. All these gens were selected based on their enzymatic activities that target chemistry of cell walls, or alternatively based on the effects of these genes on wood chemistry as recorded in greenhouse experiments. Four different vectors are used 1) pK7GWIWG2(I), 2) pK2GW7, 3) pK2GW7-WP and 4) pKGWFS7. The Genes that were introduced from these vectors are: 1) 35S promotor (p35S) followed by a gene of interest in two inverted copies with an intron in between, followed by 35S terminator (t35S), neomycin phosphotransferase encoding gene (NPTII) for kanamycin resistance driven by the nopaline synthase promotor (pNos), 2) p35S promotor followed by gene of interest either in sense orientation or in two inverted copies with an intron in between them, and t35S terminator, NPTII driven by pNos promotor, 3), wood-specific promotor (WP) followed by the gene of interrest either in sense orientation or in two inverted copies with intron in between them, followed by t35S terminaror, and NPTII gene driven by pNos promotor, 4) WP promotor followed by the reporter eGFP-GUS genes and t35S terminator, NPTII gene driven by pNos promotor. The 13 Populus genes code for 1) a pyrophosphatase, 2) a cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H) involved in lignin biosynthesis, 3) a laccase involved in lignin biosynthesis, 4) an aspartate protease involved in xylan biosynthesis 5) a glycosyl transferase family GT8, PARVUS gene ortologue, ivolved in xylan biosynthesis 6) a pectate lyase, 7) three glycosyl transferases from family GT43 involved in xylan biosynthesis, 8) two REDUCED WALL ACETYLATION family proteins involved in xylan acetylation, 9) a carier membrane protein, and 10) PERSIMONE protein. The Arabidopsis orthologs codes for PERSIMONE 2 and PERSIMONE 4 proteins. The bacterial gene encodes a pyrophosphatase, and two fungal genes encode two different xylan acetyl esterases. In addition, one control construct is expressing only eGFP-GUS reporter genes driven by the WP promotor.

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 pollinated and with wind-dispersed seeds, and can also propapagate from suckers. To our knowledge, the particualr clones have never flowered in Sweden during at least 20 years of growth. Clone S21K864012 is triploid , thus it is most likely sterile.

Experimental Release

1. Purpose of the release:
The aim is to see if any of the constructs show improved wood quality in the field conditions, as was observed in the greenhouse. In addition, we will investigate if plant growth and herbivore- or pathogen-interactions are modified. The clone T89 is not useful for commerciall forestry in Sweden, so none of these lines are aimed at being commercialized. However, if some genes give better wood quality without any penalty, they may later be used in other lines. Clone S21K864012 is an elite clone and transgenic plants in this background may be commercialized if they show a positive effect on wood quality without any adverse effects.

2. Geographical location of the site:
VĂ„xtorp, Laholm, Sweden

3. Size of the site (m2):
Less than 20 000 m2

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 good growth in the field and enhenced wood quality traits .If so, this may lead to better-yielding tree varieties for fibre- or energy production. It is expected that the traits would not give any particular advantave in natural environment, it is most likely that these lines will need to be arificially maintained, as majority of genetically improved crops.

Brief description of any measures taken for the management of risks:
The trees will not be allowed to flower. Regular inspections will be carried for early detection of possible flowering and their removal. Vegetative propagules such as suckers will also be removed regularly, and the fields will be surrounded by a fence.

Summary of foreseen field trial studies focused to gain new data on environmental and human health impact from the release:

Final report

European Commission administrative information

Consent given by the Member State Competent Authority:
21/05/2014 00:00:00