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Annals of Forest Science

, Volume 71, Issue 3, pp 415–424 | Cite as

Genetics of wood quality attributes in Western Larch

  • Blaise Ratcliffe
  • Foster J. Hart
  • Jaroslav Klápště
  • Barry Jaquish
  • Shawn D. Mansfield
  • Yousry A. El-KassabyEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Context

Wood quality traits are important to balance the negative decline of wood quality associated with selection for growth attributes in gymnosperm breeding programs. Obtaining wood quality estimates quickly is crucial for successful incorporation in breeding programs.

Aims

The aims of this paper are to: (1) Estimate genetic and phenotypic correlations between growth and wood quality attributes, (2) Estimate heritability of the studied traits, and (3) Assess the accuracy of in situ non-destructive tools as a representative of actual wood density.

Methods

Wood density (X-ray densitometry), tree height, diameter, volume, resistance drilling, acoustic velocity, and dynamic modulus of elasticity were estimated, along with their genetic parameters, for 1,200, 20-year-old trees from 25 open-pollinated families.

Results

Individual tree level heritabilities for non-destructive evaluation attributes were moderate (\( {\widehat{h}}_i^2=0.37-0.42 \)), wood density and growth traits were lower (\( {\widehat{h}}_i^2=0.23-0.35 \)). Favorable genetic and phenotypic correlations between growth traits, wood density, and non-destructive evaluation traits were observed. A perfect genetic correlation was found between resistance drilling and wood density (rG = 1.00 ± 0.07), while acoustic velocity and dynamic modulus of elasticity showed weaker genetic correlations with wood density (rG = 0.25 ± 0.24; 0.46 ± 0.21, respectively).

Conclusion

This study confirmed that resistance drilling is a reliable predictor of wood density in western larch, while the weak genetic correlations displayed by acoustic velocity and dynamic modulus of elasticity suggest limited dependability for their use as fast in situ wood density assessment methods in this species.

Keywords

Western larch In situ wood quality assessment Wood density Modulus of elasticity X-ray densitometry Genetic correlation Heritability 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations for access to the progeny testing trials and providing valuable phenotypic data.

Funding

This work is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Discovery Grants to SDM and YAE and NSERC-IRC to YAE.

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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blaise Ratcliffe
    • 1
  • Foster J. Hart
    • 2
  • Jaroslav Klápště
    • 1
    • 4
  • Barry Jaquish
    • 3
  • Shawn D. Mansfield
    • 2
  • Yousry A. El-Kassaby
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of ForestryThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of Wood Science, Faculty of ForestryThe University of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, Tree Improvement BranchKalamalka Research Station and Seed OrchardVernonCanada
  4. 4.Department of Dendrology and Forest Tree Breeding, Faculty of Forestry and Wood SciencesCzech University of Life Sciences PraguePraha 6Czech Republic

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