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Genetic variation in responses of Pinus sylvestris trees to natural infection by Gremmeniella abietina

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In 2001 large areas of Pinus sylvestris L. stands in Sweden were attacked by Gremmeniella abietina (Lagerb.) Morelet. The resultant damage was assessed in five genetic field trials and one clonal seed orchard, with the aims of quantifying the genetic variation in tree responses to G. abietina, studying the genetic relationship between G. abietina susceptibility and growth traits, and examining the implications of the results for P. sylvestris breeding. A comparison of G. abietina damage between plus-tree progenies and seed stand check-lots in each of four tree classes (dominant, co-dominant, subordinated and suppressed) found no significant differences except in the suppressed tree class, where plus-tree progenies were damaged less severely than trees from the seed stands. Narrow- and broad-sense heritability for G. abietina damage traits were in the range 0.22-0.42. Genetic correlations between G. abietina damage and growth traits were weak and not significantly different from zero. The results imply that selection for growth capacity in P. sylvestris breeding programmes using plus-tree selection or field progeny tests does not increase susceptibility to G. abietina. In addition, there is scope for selecting genotypes with increased resistance if this is required in the future.

Keywords: Progeny test; Scots pine; resistance; seed orchard

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02827580701388215

Affiliations: 1: The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Uppsala Science Park, Uppsala, Sweden 2: The Forestry Research Institute of Sweden, Sävar, Sweden

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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