W486 Workshop Introduction

Date: Sunday, January 15, 2012
Time: 1:30 PM
Room: Pacific Salon 4-5 (2nd Floor)
Norbert Billotte , CIRAD - Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement - France, Montpellier, France
Frederique Aberlenc-Bertossi , IRD - Institut de Recherche pour le Développement - France, Montpellier, France
The palm family (Arecaceae) is a distinctive group of more than 2,400 species growing in a multiplicity of forms in diverse habitats. An understanding of the biology of palms is critical to both the preservation of their biodiversity and the sustainable exploitation of their agronomic and ethnobotanical potential. In this aim, genomics and genetics are playing a pivotal and increasing role. The oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is the first world source of vegetable oil, with an average yield ten times higher than other oil crops. The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) is a key cash crop for producing countries and it is well studied in USDA Research Centers located in California and Florida. Despite their rather limited number, Palm scientists are very active in basic genomics and genetics applied to the genetic improvement of both cultivated (oil palm, coconut, date palm) and wild Arecaceae species. Current advances in genomics are in full line with undergoing research on model or other cultivated plant species, including Whole Genome Sequencing and basic gene discovery. Any improvement in scientific communication for a more efficient oil palm genome discovery will benefit to other oil crops, through knowledge and plant-to-plant genomics transfer. Biotechnology applications from the oil palm genome are benefiting other fields of research besides plant breeding. Palms scientists are looking for better communication with the scientific community and especially with groups in the US who are interested in tropical oil crops. We think PAG can provide an efficient communication platform to improve this situation.