Age trend of heritability, genetic correlation, and efficiency of early selection for wood quality traits in Scots pine
Hong Z, Fries A, Wu HX


To examine the efficiency of early selection for wood quality traits in the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) breeding program in Sweden, a total of 778 wood increment cores were sampled from 179 full-sib families in a single progeny trial at 40 years of age. Age trend of inheritance, age-age genetic correlation, and early selection efficiency for eight wood traits including annual ring width, wood density, microfibril angle (MFA), modulus of elasticity (i.e., wood stiffness; MOE), and fibre dimensions were studied. Heritabilities for the eight wood traits reached a plateau between age 5 years and age 15 years, with the highest heritability for radial fibre width and fibre coarseness (similar to 0.6) and the lowest heritability for ring width (similar to 0.2). Heritability reached about 0.4 for both wood density and MFA but only reached about 0.3 for MOE. Genetic correlation from early to reference age 30 years reached a very high level (>0.8) for all eight wood traits at age 5 years. Early selection was effective for wood quality traits in Scots pine, and selection at age 8 years is recommended for MOE in Scots pine.

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