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Early Selection in Pinus ponderosa: Compromises Between Growth Potential and Growth Rhythm in Developing Breeding Strategies

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Shoot elongation of seedlings from 13 wind-pollinated families in each of 3 natural populations was described in years 2 and 5 by a function that allowed calculation of the start, rate, duration, and cessation of elongation. Additive genetic variances for these variables and for height in year 5 were pronounced, heritabilities were high, and expected responses to selection were large. The age-age genetic correlation for each trait was strong, as were the genetic correlations for 5-year height with all traits except the start of shoot elongation. Expected responses to selection suggested that (1) genetic gains in growth can be pronounced; (2) strong selection for increased growth is accompanied by a change in growth rhythm to that typical of unselected populations from much milder environments; (3) selecting for the rate of shoot elongation tends to control the correlated responses in growth rhythm while providing about 70% of gains expected from direct selection on height; and (4) selecting in the greenhouse in year 2 is nearly as effective as selecting the field in year 5. While breeders might choose among strategies that either control correlated responses or optimize gains in growth potential, developing a program that is capable of realizing the expected gains requires an understanding of the system of genetic variability. For. Sci 38(3):661-677.

Keywords: Tree breeding; correlated responses; genetic gains

Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: Plant Geneticist, Intermountain Research Station, USDA Forest Service, Forestry Sciences Laboratory, Moscow, ID 83843

Publication date: August 1, 1992

More about this publication?
  • Forest Science is a peer-reviewed journal publishing fundamental and applied research that explores all aspects of natural and social sciences as they apply to the function and management of the forested ecosystems of the world. Topics include silviculture, forest management, biometrics, economics, entomology & pathology, fire & fuels management, forest ecology, genetics & tree improvement, geospatial technologies, harvesting & utilization, landscape ecology, operations research, forest policy, physiology, recreation, social sciences, soils & hydrology, and wildlife management.
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