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Effects of Inbreeding on Growth and Quality Traits in Loblolly Pine

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The effect of inbreeding in two provenances of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) was investigated. Ten parent trees from each of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont provenances in the southern United States were mated to produce outcrossed (F = 0), half-sib mated (F = 0.125), full-sib mated (F = 0.25), and selfed (F = 0.5) progeny. Growth and quality traits were measured in the progeny of the four inbreeding levels at age 9. Inbreeding decreased height growth up to 21% and stem volume up to 33% but did not affect stem straightness or fusiform rust disease incidence. As expected from quantitative genetics theory, inbreeding depression was more pronounced in crosses between more closely related individuals. Responses to inbreeding varied within parental groups at each inbreeding level, especially depending on the pollen source. Most of the parent groups showed consistent decreases in vigor with increased inbreeding. However, one specific parent group actually had a positive growth response, demonstrating that such genotypes may be selected for advanced-generation breeding, especially when breeding strategies make use of crosses among related individuals. Variation among inbreeding levels and among parents within inbreeding levels presents opportunities as well as challenges for developing breeding strategies in forest trees.
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Keywords: Pinus taeda; breeding strategy; genetic load; inbreeding depression; tree improvement

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2015-06-01

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  • 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.
    Forest Science is published bimonthly in February, April, June, August, October, and December.

    2016 Impact Factor: 1.782 (Rank 17/64 in forestry)

    Average time from submission to first decision: 62.5 days*
    June 1, 2016 to Feb. 28, 2017

    Also published by SAF:
    Journal of Forestry
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