Plant Biotechnol (Tokyo). 2022 Sep 25;39(3):215-220. doi: 10.5511/plantbiotechnology.22.0716a.
Somatic polyploidization often increases cell and organ size, thereby contributing to plant biomass production. However, as most woody plants do not undergo polyploidization, explaining the polyploidization effect on organ growth in trees remains difficult. Here we developed a new method to generate tetraploid lines in poplars through colchicine treatment of lateral buds. We found that tetraploidization induced cell enlargement in the stem, suggesting that polyploidization can increase cell size in woody plants that cannot induce polyploidization in normal development. Greenhouse growth analysis revealed that radial growth was enhanced in the basal stem of tetraploids, whereas longitudinal growth was retarded, producing the same amount of stem biomass as diploids. Woody biomass characteristics were also comparable in terms of wood substance density, saccharification efficiency, and cell wall profiling. Our results reveal tetraploidization as an effective strategy for improving woody biomass production when combined with technologies that promote longitudinal stem growth by enhancing metabolite production and/or transport.