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Detection of quantitative trait loci controlling bud burst and height growth in Quercus robur L.

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Genetic variation of bud burst and early growth components was estimated in a full-sib family of Quercus robur L. comprising 278 offspring. The full sibs were vegetatively propagated, and phenotypic assessments were made in three field tests. This two-generation pedigree was also used to construct a genetic linkage map (12 linkage groups, 128 markers) and locate quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling bud burst and growth components. In each field test, the date of bud burst extended over a period of 20 days from the earliest to the latest clone. Bud burst exhibited higher heritability (0.15–0.51) than growth components (0.04–0.23) and also higher correlations across field tests. Over the three tests there were 32 independent detected QTLs (P≤5% at the chromosome level) controlling bud burst, which likely represent at least 12 unique genes or chromosomal regions controlling this trait. QTLs explained from 3% to 11% of the variance of the clonal means. The number of QTLs controlling height growth components was lower and varied between two and four. However the contribution of each QTL to the variance of the clonal mean was higher (from 4% to 19%). These results indicate that the genetic architecture of two important fitness-related traits are quite different. On the one hand, bud burst is controlled by several QTLs with rather low to moderate effects, but contributing to a high genetic (additive) variance. On the other hand, height growth depends on fewer QTLs with moderate to strong effects, resulting in lower heritabilities of the trait.

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The study was carried out with the financial support from the Commission of the European Communities, research programme ‘Quality of Life and Management of Living Resources’ (Project OAKFLOW QLK5-2000-00960). We are very grateful to Guy Roussel for making the intraspecific cross, to Jean-Marc Louvet and Alexis Ducousso for assessments of bud burst and height growth traits and to the crew of the INRA nursery at Pierroton (Olivier Lagardère, Bernard Montoussé, Laurent Salera) for the helpful assistance in field work.

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Correspondence to Antoine Kremer.

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Communicated by D.B. Neale

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Scotti-Saintagne, C., Bodénès, C., Barreneche, T. et al. Detection of quantitative trait loci controlling bud burst and height growth in Quercus robur L.. Theor Appl Genet 109, 1648–1659 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00122-004-1789-3

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  • Quantitative Trait Locus
  • Field Test
  • Height Growth
  • Growth Trait
  • Quantitative Trait Locus Detection