Genetic parameters for growth and wood chemical properties in Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids

  • Shengkan Chen
  • Qijie Weng
  • Fagen Li
  • Mei Li
  • Changpin Zhou
  • Siming Gan
Original Paper


Key message

Growth and wood chemical properties are important pulpwood traits. Their narrow-sense heritability ranged from 0.03 to 0.49 in Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids, indicating low to moderate levels of genetic control. Genetic correlations were mostly favorable for simultaneous improvement on growth and wood traits. Additive and non-additive genetic effects should be considered in making a hybrid breeding strategy.


Eucalypt hybrids are widely planted for pulpwood production purposes. Genetic variations and correlations for growth and wood chemical traits remain to be explored in Eucalyptus interspecific hybrids.


Our objectives were to clarify the heritability of growth and wood chemical traits and determine the genetic correlations between traits and between trials in E. urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids.


Two trials of 59 E. urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids derived from an incomplete factorial mating design were investigated at age 10 for growth (height and diameter) and wood chemical properties (basic density, cellulose content, hemi-cellulose content, lignin content, and syringyl-to-guaiacyl ratio). Mixed linear models were used to estimate genetic parameters.


Narrow-sense heritability estimates were 0.13−0.22 in growth and 0.03−0.49 in wood traits, indicating low to moderate levels of additive genetic control. Genetic correlations were mostly positively significant for growth with basic density and cellulose content but negatively significant with hemi-cellulose and lignin contents, being favourablefavorable for pulpwood breeding purpose. Type-B correlations between sites were significant for all the traits except diameter and lignin content.


Hybrid superiority warrants the breeding efforts. An appropriate breeding strategy should be able to capture both additive and non-additive genetic effects.


Eucalyptus hybrid Growth Wood chemical property Heritability Genetic correlation Type-B correlation 



The authors would like to thank Kunming Wu, Juying Wu, Jianwen Li, Wei Wu, Changfu Hong, and Bingnan Wang for the valuable cooperation in plant material establishment and maintenance. We also thank Zhaoyuan Zhang, Jingquan Lin, Yong Guo, and Xiaoli Yu for the kind assistance in the field trial investigation and wood sample collection. We are grateful to Shiyu Fu for the standard measurement of the wood chemical properties for NIR calibration establishment.


This work was financially supported by the Fundamental Research Funds of Chinese Academy of Forestry (CAFYBB2017SY018 and CAFYBB2017ZY003) and Guangdong Natural Science Foundation (2016A030310007).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and BreedingChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of State Forestry Administration on Tropical ForestryResearch Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of ForestryGuangzhouChina

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