Oregon State University

TBGRC - Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative

The main goal of work in our laboratory is to help create green, environmentally sustainable biotechnologies to aid in production of tree crops for renewable energy, wood, and paper products. We used many advanced genomic (i.e., entire DNA) and biotechnology methods, especially intensive DNA sequencing and gene transfer, to understand plant function in depth. With this knowledge we then seek to modify tree crops at the DNA level to improve their production and reduce their environmental impact. In addition, we use DNA methods to help understand basic biology of trees and forests, such as studies of pollen and seed movement in the wild. Finally, we take part in national and international conferences, and publish interdisciplinary papers with lawyers, ethicists, political scientists, and economists, about responsible methods for regulating the products of genetic engineering. You can see the wide variety of projects we work on reflected in the publications from our laboratory. As part of work, we teach and support public lectures on biotechnology and toxicology issues.

In support of our work, we actively engage with biotechnology and forestry companies worldwide through the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Cooperative based at Oregon State University. The Coop has been active for nearly two decades. Its specific goals and history are described below. Its emphasis is on the widely grown and genetically well known eucalypts and poplars.  TBGRC Flyer 2012 (pdf)


The goal of the Tree Biosafety and Genomics Research Cooperative (TBGRC) is to conduct research, technology transfer, and education to facilitate beneficial uses of genetically engineered trees in plantations. The TBGRC seeks to test and develop select innovations, based on progress in molecular biology and agricultural biotechnology, that will ultimately have commercial value to wood-growing and horticultural industries. Research is focused on eucalypts and poplars as scientific models for genetic engineering and functional genomic studies. Experiments underway are aimed at discovery and modification of genes with major value for control of fertility, flowering onset, crown form, dormancy, stature, and rate of growth. Target genes are identified via transcriptional and epigenetic studies using microarray and high throughput RNA sequencing.

TBGRC Structure

Because of its global membership, the TBGRC meets for an online conference call twice per year, where it presents research, budgets, and intellectual property. Regular Members provide financial and in-kind research support, advise on research directions, receive early access to research results, and obtain intellectual property benefits. Associate Members have early access to research results, advise on research directions, and provide materials and services. TBGRC is a member of the National Science Foundation Industry/University Research Center called the Center for Advanced Forestry Research, whose origins began at TBGRC/Oregon State University in 1999.