A meeting in a forest between a biologist and a mathematician could lead to thicker, faster growing trees.
“Mathematicians like translating biological processes into numbers,” said Andrei Smertenko, assistant professor in Washington State University’s Institute of Biological Chemistry. “I’m a biologist, and I want to help grow stronger, better trees.”
Breeding trees is a time-consuming and imprecise field, with breeders relying on a few genetic markers and what they can see. It takes years before they see the traits they’re looking for in a young tree. To help speed things up, Smertenko and his WSU Department of Mathematics colleagues Vladyslav Oles and Alexander Panchenko have developed a new model that could help make tree breeding much easier.
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