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Genetic and phenotypic parameters for core wood density of Pinus taeda L. were estimated for ages ranging from 5 to 25 years at two sites in southern United States. Heritability estimates on an individual-tree basis for core density were lower than expected (0.20–0.31).
Age–age genetic correlations were higher than phenotypic correlations, particularly those involving young ages. Age–age genetic correlations were high, being greater than 0.75. Age–age genetic correlations had a moderately linear relationship, while age–age phenotypic
correlations had a strong linear relationship with natural logarithm of age ratio. Optimum selection age for core density was estimated to be 5 years when calculations were based on both genetic and phenotypic correlations. However, age 5 was the youngest examined in this study and optimum
selection age may be younger than 5. Generally, the optimum selection age was robust to changes in breeding phase and assumptions concerning age-related variation in heritability estimates. Early selection for core density would result in a correlated increase in earlywood density but little
progress in latewood density or latewood proportion at maturity.
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