Proposed research on social perception of marker-assisted selection and its role in the forests of British Columbia Nilausen, Chelsea; Gélinas, Nancy; Bull, Gary
The forest industry is a major player in the provincial economy, provides a significant contribution to government revenue, and accounts for 3% of British Columbia’s GDP. However, with the reduction of housing starts in the US in 2006, the economic crisis of 2008, a steady decline in newsprint demand, and the Mountain Pine Beetle epidemic, the provincial and federal governments have searched for ways to transform the forest industry through innovation, improved environmental performance, and new markets. One such investment has been in marker-assisted selection (MAS), which is a genomic-based biotechnological tool that allows desired traits to be flagged on the genome. Since MAS is a new genomic tool to the forest industry, it is necessary to survey silviculture stakeholders in BC on their perception of this resource to tree breeders, its perceived use, and the context for which it should be implemented. If it is a tool whose implementation is perceived positively, it would significantly reduce the cycle of the tree breeding process, as it allows for the early selection of genotypic traits. Moreover, it would allow tree breeders to more efficiently and accurately select for improved wood qualities, growth rates, and resistance to pests, diseases, and climate change.
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