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Genetic and Environmental Variation in Rust Frequency on Mature Mountain Birch Trees

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This study investigated genetic and environmental variation in the frequency of birch rust, the most important leaf disease of birch species. The same half-sib families of mature mountain birch trees were studied in two areas corresponding to their natural growing habitats over 3 yrs. The frequency of birch rust was examined both in the field and from detached leaves inoculated in the laboratory. The frequency of birch rust varied among the mountain birch families. However, the heritability of birch rust resistance was found to be fairly low, with the heritability of naturally occurring birch rust varying between 0.27 and 0.41. The frequency of birch rust varied highly between the two study areas and among study years. Nevertheless, the relative frequency of birch rust among tree individuals and tree families remained similar and as a result no notable genotype×environment interaction was observed. The field and in vitro results differed with respect to the ranking of birch families by birch rust resistance.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Turku, Department of Biology, Section of Ecology, and Kevo Subarctic Research Institute. FIN-20014 Turku, Finland

Publication date: 2000-11-25

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