Submitted by: Adriana Suarez-Gonzalez
How do individuals adapt to extremely different environments? That is the main question that drives my research and I am using poplar trees and their genes to understand this process. These trees occur in contrasting environments from Alaska to California, and show great variation in adaptive traits (e.g. growth, disease susceptibility). They also show high variation at the genetic level, but only in specific genes called candidates. I am exploring the function of these “candidate genes” and their variants to both understand their contribution to local adaptation in poplar, and provide information to optimize breeding and conservation strategies.