913330 Genetics and biodiversity

Semester hours
Lecturer (assistant)
Neophytou, Charalambos , Jansen, Simon Alexander
Offered in
Wintersemester 2023/24
Languages of instruction


Genetic diversity constitutes the initial step of organism biodiversity. In the context of forest trees, this diversity serves as the fundamental foundation for their adaptation, vitality, growth performance, and overall quality. Consequently, comprehending the spatial patterns of genetic variation and the underlying mechanisms becomes crucial in forestry. Applying this knowledge is imperative for implementing measures to safeguard and conserve genetic resources, facilitate the breeding of desirable traits, and ensure the quality and origin assurance of forest reproductive material.

The lecture "Forest Genetics and Biodiversity" provides insights into significant measures and laws pertaining to the genetic diversity and differentiation of populations. It covers the foundational principles of molecular genetics and discusses measures for characterizing genetic variation within and between populations. Emphasis is placed on exploring key evolutionary processes, including natural selection, gene flow, and genetic drift, and their profound influence on the emergence and configuration of population genetic variation.

The lecture incorporates case studies from published research, highlighting the use of molecular markers in describing genetic variation in forest tree populations. Special attention is dedicated to quantitative traits such as height growth and phenology (e.g. bud burst), given their pivotal role in adaptability and growth performance. Numerous examples from field trials are presented to illustrate how these traits vary spatially and how the genetic component of such variations can be detected.

The concluding section of the lecture addresses various applications of forest genetics. This encompasses (1) methods for the conservation of forest tree populations and the criteria for selecting populations for gene conservation programs, (2) essential approaches in forest tree breeding, whether aimed at increasing productivity or enhancing resistance to pathogens, and (3) the legal provisions governing the quality and origin of forest reproductive material.

Previous knowledge expected

Basic knowledge of population genetics and molecules from the lecture "Grundlagen der Ökologie I" is required.

Objective (expected results of study and acquired competences)

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will be able to:

- Interpret rules and measures that describe the inheritance of traits of forest trees, as well as important terms and measures related to the genetic variation of forest tree populations.
- Distinguish between different evolutionary mechanisms and their influence on the pattern of population genetic variation.
- Distinguish between patterns of inheritance and variation from qualitative and quantitative characteristics.
- Interpret results of genetic studies using molecular markers or based on field trials to understand the pattern of population genetic variation of forest tree populations.
- Recommend, on the basis of genetic knowledge, concrete measures with regard to the genetic conservation, breeding and use of reproductive material in forest tree species.
You can find more details like the schedule or information about exams on the course-page in BOKUonline.