Appropriate Use of Genetic Manipulation for the Development of Restoration Plant Materials

Jones, T.A. and J.G. Robins

Publication Date:

The diversity of approaches for developing restoration plant material reflects a variety of philosophies that represent what can and should be accomplished by restoration. The “natural” approach emphasizes emulation of putative naturally occurring patterns of genetic variation. The “genetically manipulated” approach involves such techniques as artificial selection, hybridization, bulking, and chromosome doubling to create populations that are ostensibly as well or better equipped to restore ecosystem function than the extirpated natural populations that they are designed to replace. A number of caveats have been issued regarding manipulated plant materials, including concerns regarding improper genetic identity, outbreeding depression, maladaptation, and inappropriate amounts of genetic variation. Here we detail (1) when these concerns are likely to be valid or inconsequential, (2) how precautions may be taken to minimize these concerns, and (3) how to respect, as much as possible, the principles cherished by proponents of natural plant materials, yet still take advantage of the benefits of genetic manipulation.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Progress in Botany