Illegal logging is a global problem with significant negative economic, environmental and social impacts, which are interconnected. This workshop aims at coordinating efforts from international initiatives in forest tree genomics to transfer information and high throughput techniques to improve and standardize multispecies DNA genotyping tools for timber species and wood product identification, supporting control of illegal timber logging and trade.
Technical advances in genome sequencing and genotyping over the past 20 years have contributed to document the genetic variability of a large set of plant species, including those with large and complex genomes, such as different forest trees. We have collected basic information about genome structure of an increasing number of tree species which has contributed to the transfer of information to other related species. Additionally, bioinformatics tools have been designed to filter data from high throughput sequencing and genotyping studies in order to build predictive models to identify molecular variants that discriminate not only different plant species but also different plant varieties.
The combination of next generation sequencing with computational applications allows selecting minimal sets of markers per species, avoiding interference, to design multispecies genotyping tools with high discrimination capacity, which may help to increase the efficiency of timber tracking. This is a key application to prevent illegal logging and associated trade.
The goal of the workshop is to discuss possible strategies to efficiently transfer information and experience amongst worldwide genomics initiatives to guide the development of standardized protocols for DNA extraction and strategies to identify SNP sets, with high discrimination power, from the most relevant timber species threatened by illegal logging and trading. Multispecies high throughput genotyping tools based on selected SNPs could highly improve species identification and enable timber tracking.
Thus, this workshop will integrate efforts from experts in different areas of tree genomics, bioinformatics and policy makers to generate the appropriate framework for discussion and coordination in order to develop a roadmap for defining strategies for sampling and genotyping and for enriching publicly accessible databases to improve timber/wood tracking.
See you in September!