Allelic variation in cell wall candidate genes affects solid wood properties in natural populations and land races of radiata pine
Genetics: 2010 185:1477-1487
Dillon SK, Nolan MF, Li W, Matter P, Wu HX, Southerton SG

Forest trees are ideally suited to association mapping due to their high levels of diversity and low genomic linkage disequilibrium. Using an association mapping approach, single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers influencing quantitative variation in wood quality were identified in a natural population of Pinus radiata. Of 149 sites examined, 10 demonstrated significant associations (P < 0.05, q < 0.1) with one or more traits after accounting for population structure and experimentwise error. Without accounting for marker interactions, phenotypic variation attributed to individual SNPs ranged from 2 to 6.5%. Undesirable negative correlations between wood quality and growth were not observed, indicating potential to break negative correlations by selecting for individual SNPs in breeding programs. Markers that yielded significant associations were reexamined in an Australian land race. SNPs from three genes (PAL1, PCBER, and SUSY) yielded significant associations. Importantly, associations with two of these genes validated associations with density previously observed in the discovery population. In both cases, decreased wood density was associated with the minor allele, suggesting that these SNPs may be under weak negative purifying selection for density in the natural populations. These results demonstrate the utility of LD mapping to detect associations, even when the power to detect SNPs with small effect is anticipated to be low.

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