Twelve trees in a 36 year old full-sib progeny plantation, testing a part of the Scots pine breeding population, were analysed for wood density and the width of the earlywood and latewood sections in each annual ring. Wood samples (stem discs) were taken with 1 m intervals along the stem and the analyses covered thus the whole stem. Based on these data, the biomass of the earlywood and latewood of each annual ring in each 1 meter stem section was estimated. Latewood density increased from pith to bark while it decreased from stem base to top. Earlywood density was of similar size both radially and vertically. The biomass in each annual ring increased until around ring number 10 from pith for both wood types. For earlywood it then decreased while it remained quite constant for latewood. Latewood biomass decreased more rapidly towards the top of the tree than earlywood biomass. Heritabilities for earlywood and latewood in each annual ring at breast height (estimated in the same material in a previous study) were related to the corresponding biomasses to indirectly estimate overall heritability for wood density valid for the whole stem. The analyses indicate that the decrease in heritability for latewood density and increase for earlywood density, from the pith to bark, is compensated by the increase in latewood biomass in relation to earlywood biomass. Thus, the heritability of the latewood density and earlywood density seems to have the same influence on the overall heritability for density in the whole stem.
Four Russian larch species; (Larix sukaczewii Dyl., L. sibirica Ledeb., L. gmelinii Rupr. and L. cajanderi Mayr.) were tested in combined provenance-progeny tests on three sites in Sweden. 29 provenances, two seed orchards and four seed stands-material were assessed for juvenile height growth and survival after five growing seasons in the field. Genetic parameters were also determined on the family level. The results show that provenances of L. sukaczewii originating from western Russia have the highest survival. Compared to the closely related L. sibirica, L. sukaczewii show better adaptation, a pattern that has also been observed in Finland and Iceland. Provenances of L. gmelinii from the Russian Far East demonstrate best juvenile height growth on all three sites. L. cajanderi from northern interior Siberia failed on all three sites. Both climatic and geographical variables showed strong correlation with survival and height. At this early evaluation it seems like provenances of L. sukaczewii can be transferred northward with satisfactory survival whereas southern transfer or transfer from strongly continental areas in Russia to the semi maritime climate in Sweden results in poor growth. CVA values suggested relatively high genetic variation in height for L. sukaczewii and L. sibirica. The heritabilities for height growth and survival were at this early evaluation generally low (h2 < 0.10) and often non-significant.
Efficient use of any breeding resources requires a good understanding of the genetic value of the founder breeding materials for predicting the gain and diversity in future generations. This study evaluates the distribution of genetic variation and level of relatedness among and within nine breeding populations of Norway spruce for Northern Sweden using nuclear microsatellite markers. A sample set of 456 individuals selected from 140 stands were genotyped with 15 SSR loci. Over all loci each individual was identified with unique multilocus genotype. High genetic diversity (average He=0.820) and low population differentiation (FST=0.0087) characterized this material. Although low in FST, the two northernmost populations were clustered as a distinct group diverged from the central populations. The population differentiation pattern corresponds well with the post glacial migration history of Norway spruce and the current gene flow and human activity in the region. The average inbreeding coefficient was 0.084 after removal loci with high frequency of null alleles. The estimated relatedness of the trees gathered in the breeding populations was very low (average kinship coefficient 0.0077) and not structured. The high genetic variation and low and not structured relatedness between individuals found in the breeding populations confirm that the Norway spruce breeding stock for northern Sweden represent valuable genetic resources for both long-term breeding and conservation programs.
The pollination pattern in a Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) seed orchard consisting of 28 clones was studied using nine microsatellite (SSR) loci. The nine SSR loci produced unique multilocus genotypes for each of the orchard’s 28 clones and allowed paternal assignment of the studied 305 seed using paternity exclusion probability of 99.9%. Fifty two percent of the studied seeds were sired by outside the orchard pollen sources (i.e., pollen contamination) and as expected, low selfing (2.3%) was detected. These results are valuable for the evaluation of the seed orchard function and the impact of contamination on the expected genetic gain.