Transgenic Eucalyptus. Blue color shows expression of a “reporter” GUS gene.

Bright autumn foliage in a field trial of genetically engineered Sweetgum. Apart from flowering behavior, the trees looked identical to unmodified sweetgum.

A flower of a genetically engineered sweetgum tree in a USDA regulated field trial. The trees contain genes to enable genetic containment

A “heat-map” showing how relative expression of thousands of genes (each horizontal line) in leaves changes during the growing season (from young leaves through to senescence).

A team of students and postdoc Amy Klocko (green shirt) take field data on leaf physiology of cottonwoods as part of a study of the genomics of hybrid vigor.

Petri plate with leaf discs that have been treated with Agrobacterium, an efficient gene transfer agent.

The light green area shows the emergence of a genetically engineered shoot based on expression of green fluorescent protein (GFP) from jelly fish. The same type of gene is in Glo-Fish that is widely available in pet stores.

A high school summer intern (left), and Research Assistant Kori Ault, take field measurements of chlorophyll fluorescence in a study of the genomic basis of hybrid vigor in cottonwood trees.

Eucalyptus pollen stained for viability.

Eucalyptus occidentalis, a rapidly flowering species of eucalypt that s useful for accelerated evaluation of containment technologies, flowers in an OSU greenhouse.

Gel image with examples of gene mosaic and deletion mutants created in genetically engineered poplar trees using CRISPR technology.

White poplar (P. alba clone 6K10) flowers on genetically engineered trees in a USDA regulated field trial testing different containment technologies.

Home Page

In the Forest Biotechnology Laboratory we use modern plant biotechnologies—both genomics and genetic engineering—to help create environmentally sustainable biotechnologies to aid in production of tree crops, including for renewable energy, wood, paper, ornamentals, and fruit. In addition, we use DNA methods for basic research to help understand the physiology and evolution of trees. We work in interdisciplinary teams to teach about biotechnology in relation to society, and to inform the development of regulations that nurture both innovation and the safe use of genetically engineered plants in forests and farms.


Tree FlowersGenomicstbgrcaspencs