Establishment of a quasi-field trial in Abies nordmanniana—test of a new approach to forest tree breeding
Hansen, Ole K. | McKinney, Lea V.
This study used DNA markers to establish a quasi-field trial within a production Christmas tree stand produced from seed collected in an open-pollinated clonal seed orchard (CSO). A total of 660 offspring from the CSO, which comprised 99 clones of Abies nordmanniana, were genotyped with 12 microsatellites. Parentage was assigned successfully to 93% and 98% of the progeny at 95% and 80% confidence, respectively. The assignment rate declined only to 90% when the number of markers was reduced to 10. The distribution of parentage to the offspring among the CSO clones was highly skewed. The most successful clone was assigned as parent in 7% of the cases, and only 92 of the 119 potential parental genotypes were assigned as parents. The obtained pedigree was used to estimate breeding values for the CSO clones for five characters relevant for Christmas tree breeding. For high-heritability traits, such as flushing, accurate breeding values could be estimated for a considerable proportion of the clones. To estimate breeding values for low-heritability traits, such as Christmas tree quality score, more genotyped offspring will be required. The largest drawback of the method is the highly skewed distribution of parentage among the parents in the seed orchards, making it difficult to calculate breeding values for all clones. The approach seems well suited for tree breeding that puts more emphasis on pure selection of parental genotypes and less on estimating quantitative genetic parameters.Show more [+] Less [-]