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U.S. Department of Agriculture USDA Forest Service Southern Regional Extension Forestry Southern Regional Extension Forestry

Association and Quantitative Genetics of Wood Properties in Loblolly Pine

One of the main approaches for improving the efficiency and sustainability of wood production is the genetic improvement of select forest tree species. In the case of loblolly and slash pines in the southeastern USA, genetic improvement is still in its infancy with breeding programs just entering their 4th selection cycle and being directed at improving stem form, growth, and disease resistance but not wood properties per se. Advances in high throughput wood property phenotyping and SNP genotyping now enable the dissection of the genetic architecture and association of specific alleles with these traits that could not only permit but also accelerate the breeding for wood properties tailored to specific end uses. Towards this goal of accelerating the breeding for improved wood properties in loblolly pine, we have phenotyped juvenile corewood anatomical (density), chemical (carbohydrate, lignin content) and physical (stiffness) properties in a large clonally propagated genetic test to better understand the genetic architecture of these traits and to discover the alleles and genes controlling these properties via association genetics.

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Author(s): Andrew J. Eckert, B. Kahn1, David B. Neale, Dudley A. Huber, G. Casella, Gary F. Peter, J. Wegrzyn, M. Davis, R. Sykes, V. Gopal, X. B. Li1

Publication: Tree Improvement and Genetics - Southern Forest Tree Improvement Conference - 2009