Tree research grows bonds between Clemson and China

By Peter Kent

Haiying Liang conducting tree researchA search to improve fruit and forest trees connects Clemson to China, with the aid of a USDA grant.

Clemson is known internationally for research on fruit-tree genetics, particularly the peach, which originated in China. Scientists at the Beijing Forestry University have discovered a method to speed reproduction in a forest tree that grows in both the U.S. and China.

"We are looking for genes and biochemicals that control reproduction," said plant molecular biologist Haiying Liang, Clemson team leader and a graduate of Beijing Forestry University.

The dawn redwood tree typically does not begin reproducing until about 25 years of age. But Beijing scientists have discovered a method to shorten the time to less than five years. Shorter juvenile phase can benefit forest managers in both countries.

The Clemson research team includes plant breeder Ksenja Gasic, plant physiologist Douglas Bielenberg, and plant geneticist Gregory Reighard.

For information: Haiying Liang, 864-656-2414,