Impact of fertility variation on genetic diversity and phenotypic traits in second generation seed production areas and clonal seed orchards of Eucalyptus camaldulensis

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Abstract

Fertility and gene diversity were estimated in three second generation (F2) seed stands (SPA 1-3) and two clone trials (CSO 1&2) of Eucalyptus camaldulensis to assess the impact on seed crop. F2 seedlots were evaluated in comparison to native provenances, ten commercial clones and interspecific hybrids at diverse sites. SPA 1&2 were genetic gain trials of five first generation (F1) orchard seedlots, SPA 3 a plantation of one F1 orchard seedlot, and CSOs were clone trials of 21 commercial clones established at two contrasting sites. Fertility variation, as indicated by sibling coefficient, was high (Ψ, 9-14) in the SPAs as only about 26 % trees were fertile compared to 81 % trees in CSOs. Effective population size was higher in SPA 1 and 2 (Ns, 95 and 74, respectively) than SPA 3 (Ns = 39). Fertility was highly skewed in CSO 2 resulting in low effective population size (Ns = 2) compared to CSO 1 (Ns = 11). Constant seed collection enabled 3-fold increase in relative population size and 22 % higher predicted gene diversity in CSO 2. Genetic diversity (He) estimated using SSR markers was higher in SPA 1&2 and native provenances (NAT), compared to SPA 3 and CSO 1, whereas CSO 2 and clones had lower values. There was a high positive correlation between estimated He and predicted gene diversity values of SPAs and CSOs. He was positively correlated to mean field survival and negatively correlated to kraft pulp yield (KPY), evaluated at three years in progeny trials across three locations. Number of alleles per locus was higher in SPAs and native provenances compared to CSOs and clones. Discriminant principal component analysis clustered CSO, NAT and SPA seedlots in different groups while commercial E. camaldulensis clones clustered close to NAT. Multilocus outcrossing rate was generally high (tm, 91-100 %), though selfing was observed in two families of SPA 3 and CSO 2. Selected interspecific hybrid families of commercial E. camaldulensis clones (with E. urophylla and E. pellita) evaluated at two of the sites had higher He and KPY than clones at three years.

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