ArborGen Renews Agreement with Scion

14 May 2010

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. and ROTORUA, NZ (May 13, 2010)  – ArborGen, LLC and New Zealand Crown Research Institute Scion have agreed to extend their multi-million dollar partnership in gene discovery and molecular breeding for forest trees.  Begun in 2006, the partnership has been successful in identifying gene-traits associated with wood quality improvements in pine. The partnership has identified more than one hundred new genes to test in Loblolly Pine research being conducted at ArborGen.

“Our ongoing partnership with Scion brings together two leaders in forestry biotechnology, creating exciting synergies for breakthrough discoveries and product development,” says Barbara Wells, Ph.D., president and CEO of ArborGen.

Scion’s Chief Executive Tom Richardson, Ph.D., predicts future plantation forests will be different to what they are now, with trees grown for a wider range of purposes in addition to traditional forest products, such as bioenergy and other bio-based products. Over the next three years, the partnership will focus on developing and applying valuable traits, such as improved growth and superior wood quality, for both commercial forestry and biomaterials applications.

This partnership has developed a pipeline of lead candidates and the rate of new discoveries will only accelerate,” says Richardson. “The ArborGen partnership has already led to discoveries for enhancing growth and wood characteristics in trees. The groundwork done to date provides a solid foundation for this partnership to deliver value to forestry in the future.”

Elspeth MacRae, Ph.D., group manager of bioproduct development at Scion and Maud Hinchee, Ph.D., chief science officer at ArborGen see the potential of the collaboration as significant for the future of forestry, stating that even small incremental improvements in growth or wood density across the millions of trees planted annually in the United States and New Zealand will improve per acre productivity, relieving pressure on native forests while meeting an ever growing demand for wood, fiber and energy.

“Biotechnology has the potential to solve enormous problems facing global forests, including increased demand, pollution, climate change mitigation, carbon sequestration, and disease and insect resistance,” says Greg Mann, general manager ArborGen Australasia. “ArborGen is dedicated to improving tree performance and the productivity of purpose grown trees for a growing global economy. From bioenergy to pulp and paper, packaging, and lumber, trees produce through this partnership will produce more of what we need far more efficiently than we can do currently.”


About ArborGen
ArborGen is a leader in tree improvement and the commercial production of trees. We are dedicated to helping the global forest industry meet the growing demand for wood, pulp & paper, and energy in a more productive and sustainable way. Enabling more wood to be grown on less land helps conserve the world’s native forests in all their beauty, diversity and complexity. With one of the world's most extensive tree germplasm resources, ArborGen uses both traditional breeding and advanced genetic technologies, to discover and produce high yield seedlings for our customers, allowing our customers to significantly increase the productivity of their forests and manufacturing processes. Our mission is to deliver superior performing trees through innovative science and world class customer service - every tree, every time. For more information, please visit