Emily K. Murphy
Genetic improvement of willows for biomass and environmental applications
Genetic transformation of native Salix spp. from seed
Willows (Salix spp.) are of great ecological importance in the Northern hemisphere from Arctic to sub-tropical regions and inhabit ecosystems ranging from mountainous to coastal wetlands. This significant variation and plasticity make willows an attractive species for a wide array of biological-based environmental solutions. Research examining this variation is assessed annually in field trials, but subjective trait scoring and ploidy barriers to interspecific species crosses have slowed breeding advancements.
In recent years, the breeding focus has shifted toward exploiting natural variation in native populations due to concerns over the introduction of foreign pests and diseases. As a part of a larger data collection initiative by Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada, my research aims to assess the inherent cell wall characteristics of native Salix eriocephala populations that will be used towards the Canadian willow feedstock improvement program.
An additional component of my research is the development of a stable transformation protocol, which will offer an alternative to conventional breeding in allowing for controlled assessment and manipulation of genes of interest.
BSc – Biology (Cooperative Program), Dalhousie University (2013)
Awards, Grants, Scholarships
- Research Affiliate Program (RAP), UBC