AWBD - Accelerating Willow Breeding and Deployment

Rothamsted Research

"This project will develop a plan to accelerate the breeding of willows (Salix spp.) for biomass and generate information to guide deployment of current willow varieties. Unlike most trees, willow has tremendous potential for genetic improvement. Willows are highly diverse, grow rapidly, flower within a year from seed, and are clonally propagated. Rothamsted Research breeders have exploited some of the enormous diversity in willows. With renewed interest in bioenergy in the UK it is timely to re-invigorate that effort using the latest innovations. Genomic selection (GS) is a new but well-proven DNA technology to inform and guide breeders on the value of different individuals. GS will improve selection for complex traits in the breeding of willows including yield and improve confidence in the choice of parents and offspring, eliminating the need for several years of preliminary field testing. This will accelerate improved variety production and deployment, whilst lowering breeding costs." See also: Accelerating Willow Breeding and Deployment  Innovation Project Page