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Introduction: Comparative Genomics of Angiosperm Trees: A New Era of Tree Biology
Forest tree genomics has made enormous strides in recent years, by describing the expression and function of genes influencing tree growth and development, and even sequencing the entire genomes of select “model” tree species. We believe that the next chapter of forest tree genomics will focus on cross-species comparative approaches, which will have the ability to provide fundamental new insights into the unique biology and evolutionary history of tree species. Angiosperm trees in particular are fascinating in light of evolution. Angiosperm trees represent the extensive genome evolution, including whole genome duplications, exhibited by different angiosperm lineages. Angiosperm trees also present amazing morphological, physiological and biochemical diversity, providing the opportunity to use comparative genomic approaches to understand the evolutionary origin and diversification of traits associated with trees. This book provides background on biological, genomic, and evolutionary aspects of angiosperm trees, in support of researchers exploring the use of comparative and evolutionary genomic approaches. This introduction briefly reviews the diversity of angiosperm trees and sets out the conceptual framework for comparative and evolutionary study of angiosperm tree biology using genomic tools, and highlights individual chapters within this book.
KeywordsEvolution Wood Developmental Biology Population Genomics Angiosperm Trees Comparative Genomics
The editors wish to acknowledge the helpful assistance of Eric Stannard and other Springer staff in bringing this book to fruition. Work in the laboratory of QC is funded by Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grants Program (grant no. RGPIN-2014-05820). Work in the laboratory of AG is funded by USDA AFRI (grant no. 2015-67013-22891) and DOE Office of Science, Office of Biological and Environmental Research (BER grant no. DE-SC0007183).
While this book was in preparation, but after the manuscript of his chapter was submitted, we received the news of the tragic death of Carl Douglas in a climbing accident in the mountains of British Columbia. We have lost a great colleague and trusted friend. Carl was a true leader in the field of the genomics of angiosperm trees and will be greatly missed. We dedicate this volume as a small tribute to his memory.
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