- •Sylleptic branching in trees may increase significantly branch number, leaf area and the general growth of the tree, particularly in its early years. Although this is a very important trait, so far little is known about the genes that control this process.
- •This article characterizes the Castanea sativa RAV1 gene, homologous to Arabidopsis TEM genes, by analyzing its circadian behavior and examining its winter expression in chestnut stems and buds. Transgenic hybrid poplars over-expressing CsRAV1 or showing RNA interference down-regulated PtaRAV1 and PtaRAV2 expression were produced and analyzed.
- •Over-expression of the CsRAV1 gene induces the early formation of sylleptic branches in hybrid poplar plantlets during the same growing season in which the lateral buds form. Only minor growth differences and no changes in wood anatomy are produced.
- •The possibility of generating trees with a greater biomass by manipulating the CsRAV1 gene makes CsRAV1 transgenic plants promising candidates for bioenergy production.