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As part of the scientific execution of the Genosuber project – “Sequencing the cork oak genome (Quercus suber)” at the Alentejo Agricultural and Agri-food Biotechnology Center (CEBAL), a unique cork oak population was created worldwide in 2014 by its researchers . This is the only population where the parents of each cork oak are known. In addition, all the parents of the population are cork oak producers of good quality.
This F1 cork oak population was created through a controlled pollination process, where four trees were used as mother trees. Each of them was later pollinated with pollen collected in 10 cork oaks, distributed in several regions of Portugal, which functioned as the male parents. One of the cork oaks used as a father is the same cork oak whose genome is being sequenced. The acorns resulting from this crossing were harvested and germinated at Viveiros de Santo Isidro, in Pegões, and 276 cork oaks with known pedigree were obtained. The F1 cork oaks were housed at the Santo Isidro Nurseries during the first years of life, and were installed, at the end of March 2018, at Herdade da Abóbada – Baixo Alentejo Experimentation Center, part of the Alentejo Regional Agriculture and Fisheries Directorate.
This cork oak population will be fundamental for the future of cork oak research, the national tree of Portugal. The next generations of researchers will benefit from this population, but for this to be possible, your help is essential. Come to know this cork oak population, its history, and how they can help in its management and maintenance.
The entire process of creating, managing and maintaining this population has required financial availability to meet the necessary expenses. The first stages of population development were supported by the Genosuber project. In the following phases, the contribution of several institutions and researchers was ensuring the survival and management of these very important cork oaks.
For these reasons, CEBAL is raising funds to support the maintenance of F1 cork oaks. The center will use the support received to ensure the proper development of this population.