Wood DNA: searching the epigenetic archive of forest trees for traces of historic climate change.


DNA preserved in the wood of a tree represents an epigenetic “diary” often spanning centuries; with information on genes and pathways involved in the tree's responses to environmental changes. Retrieving this information may prove valuable to the fundamental understanding of tree biology and to climate research, including mediating the effects of climate change on forests. Using our unique collection of trunk bore cores of trees affected by an extreme climate event in 1816, the student will explore their epigenetic “diaries” by whole genome DNA methylation profiling and a careful search of the resulting data for traces of the 1816 event.


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Biological Areas:



Plants, microbes, food and sustainability