Forest Genetic Resources Working Paper FGR/77E

Feasibility and proposed outline of a global review of forest biotechnology

Yousry El-Kassaby
University of British Columbia, Canada

December 2004


The Forest Genetic Resources Working Papers report on issues and activities in related to the conservation, sustainable use and management of forest tree genetic diversity. The purpose of these papers is to provide early information on on-going developments in the field, and to stimulate discussion.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. As a Working Paper, this document does not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

Quantitative information has been compiled according to sources, methodologies and protocols identified and selected by the author. For standardized methodologies and assessments on forest resources, please refer to FAO, 2003. State of the World’s Forests 2005; and to FAO, 2003. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2000 (FRA 2000). FAO Forestry Paper No 140 .

Biotechnology techniques and products in use or in the pipeline in developing countries and countries with economies in transition are available in the searchable database FAO-BioDeC ( Official information can also be found at the FAO web site (, in particular regarding biotechnology ( and forest genetic resources (

Comments and feedback are welcome.

For further information please contact:

Oudara Souvannavong
Senior Forestry Officer
Forest Management Division
Forestry Department
FAO, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla
00100 Rome, Italy
Fax: + 39 06 570 55 137

For quotation:
El-Kassaby, Y. 2004. Feasibility and proposed outline of a global review of forest biotechnology. Forest Genetic Resources Working Paper FGR/77E. Forest Resources Development Service, Forest Resources Division. FAO, Rome.


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Executive summary

1. Introduction

2. Technological Categories of Forest Biotechnology

3. Applications
3.1 Markers (biochemical and molecular)
3.2 Propagation & Multiplication
3.3 Genomics
3.4 Marker-aided selection & breeding
3.5 Genetic modification

4. The need for global account of biotechnology in forestry

5. Conclusion

6. References

Table 1: Anticipated contribution to and scale of impact of each broad area of biotechnology on elements of natural and artificial forest populations

Table 2: Current global applications and projected future importance and trends of forest tree biotechnology


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