Active projects

Development of molecular markers for assessment of juvenility during micropropagation of Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth)
Leader: Dainis Edgars Ruņģis
Start date: 1.1.2020
End date: 31.12.2022

 

Fundamental and Applied Research Study No. lzp-2019/1-0387.

The scientific objective: To develop a technology (molecular markers) for determining juvenility during the micropropagation process of Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth) based on expression changes of miRNAs and their target genes, and to investigate factors affecting juvenility of birch genotypes with different in vitro morphogenic ability.

New knowledge will be obtained as a result of research development – determination of factors affecting birch rejuvenation during micropropagation, identification of conserved miRNAs, correlation of miRNA (also miR156/157, miR172) and their target gene expression with juvenility state, as well as verification of rejuvenation model developed during this research using grafted seedlings and on selected birch genotypes with different morphogenesis ability in vitro. Development of this technology will improve the propagation success rate for high quality and value selected birch genotypes, increasing the efficiency of breeding programs and the value of forest stands over the rotation period. Using the obtained knowledge, an effective birch micropropagation technology will be developed and used in birch breeding programs to produce genetically valuable birch reproductive material.

Research tasks:

  1. High-throughput sequencing of microRNAs and expressed genes in seedlings (juvenile control), mature silver birch, and in birch in vitro shoots with different morphogenic potential;
  2. Development of microRNA and target gene molecular markers for the determination of Silver birch juvenility state;
  3. Evaluation of morphological, anatomical and physiological traits of birch in vitro shoots during rejuvenation;
  4. Investigation of the rejuvenation mechanism in grafted birches using the developed molecular markers;
  5. Testing of developed juvenile markers on 10–15 birch in vitro genotypes with different morphogenetic ability.

Work plan:

  1. Sequencing and data analysis.
  2. Plant material and extraction of RNA for further analyses.
  3. Marker development and validation.
  4. Evaluation of shoot morphology, anatomy and physiology during birch in vitro shoot rejuvenation.
    4.1. Morphological evaluation.
    4.2. Anatomical evaluation.
    4.3. Physiological evaluation.
  5. Assessment of the developed markers on 10–15 selected birch genotypes in vitro and grafted birches.
    5.1. Analysis of miRNAs and their target gene expression levels in 10–15 birch genotypes with different in vitro morphogenic ability.
    5.2. Analysis of miRNAs and their target gene expression levels in grafted birches.

Recent activities:

  1. 01.30.2020. Participation in the 78th Scientific Conference of the University of Latvia with presentation Baiba Krivmane, Elva Girgžde, Ineta Samsone and Dainis Ruņģis "Development of molecular markers for assessment of juvenility during micropropagation of Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth)". Conference program here.
  2. 01.23.2020. Participation in the career development support event "Many sided and interesting forest science through the eyes of a researcher" for 7th–9th grade students of the Riga 75th secondary school. The aim of the event is to inform pupils about the field of forest science (with a focus on molecular genetics), the most current problems and research in forest science, to introduce with the researcher's daily life and to find out its role in the development of forest science.
  3. 09.23–25.2020. Participation in the event "Forest Science Afternoon", organized by LVMI Silava with activities for Salaspils 1st secondary school pupils "Forest in a toy box".
  4. 09.25.2020. Participation in the event "Forest Science Afternoon" organized by LVMI Silava with activities "Find out and trace what we are researching? " and creative activity "Wooden Story" for all visitors.
  5. 02.10.2020. and 10.16.2020. An educational and informative excursion with practical work in DNA extraction was leaded at the Genetic Resource Centre’s Molecular Genetics Laboratory of the LVMI Silava for 3rd grade pupils of 1th Salaspils Secondary School.
  6. 26.11.2020. Presentation for master’s students of the University of Latvia Faculty of Biology within the course of plant physiology "Plant tissue culture". The presentation is about Plant tissue culture’s laboratory and their arrangement, goals, directions of activity and active projects. The project "Development of molecular markers for the assessment of juvenility during micropropagation of Silver birch (Betula pendula Roth)" has been described in more detail – about the topicality of the topic, goals, tasks, about obtaining the necessary data, the first results and further tasks.
  7. 01.26.–27.2021. Participation in the poster section of the conference "Knowledge-based forest industry" organized by the Latvian State Forest Research Institute "Silava", Forest Sector Competence Center, JSC "Latvijas Finieris" and JSC "Latvijas valsts meži" in cooperation with other forest industry partners with a presentation "Development of molecular markers for assessment of juvenility of silver birch in vitro cultures". The presentation is about the topicality and novelty of the research, the goal, the main tasks, the obtained results and conclusions.
  8. 28.06–01.07.2021. Participation in the Plant Biology Europe 2021 (PBE2021) conference organized by the Federation of European Societies of Plant Biology (FESPB) and the European Plant Science Organization (EPSO) (links here and here), with the poster presentation Elva Girgžde, Ineta Samsone, Arnis Gailis, Dainis Ruņģis “Effect of exogenously applied sugars on silver birch (Betula pendula) in vitro shoot rejuvenation” (poster here); conference program here.
  9. 30.04.2021. Participation in the European Researchers Night 2021 (www.zinatniekunakts2021.lv) "Scientific achievements for the future" (press relise here). LFSRI Silava GRC laboratory members created the quiz puzzle "Genetics and Research", where by correctly answering all the questions of the game about genetics and research in the LSFR Silava GRC, it was possible to put together a puzzle (puzzle here). In addition, it was possible to watch a video presentation (video here) and poster presentation “Development of molecular markers for assessment of juvenility during micropropagation of Silver birch” (poster here).

Other researchers:

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