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Open AccessArticle

Pinus sylvestris Breeding for Resistance against Natural Infection of the Fungus Heterobasidion annosum

1
Latvian State Forest Research Institute Silava, 111 Rigas street, LV-2169 Salaspils, Latvia
2
Forest Institute, Lithuanian Centre for Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Forest Tree Genetics and Breeding, Liepu St. 1, Girionys, LT-53101 Kaunas distr., Lithuania
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2020, 11(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/f11010023
Received: 28 November 2019 / Revised: 17 December 2019 / Accepted: 19 December 2019 / Published: 22 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Forest Genetics and Tree Improvement)
Increasing resistance against biotic and abiotic factors is an important goal of forest tree breeding. The aim of the present study was to develop a root rot resistance index for Scots pine breeding and evaluate its effectiveness. The productivity, branch diameter, branchiness, stem straightness, spike knots, and damage from natural infection of root rot in 154 Scots pine open-pollinated families from Latvia were evaluated through a progeny field trial at the age of 38 years. Trees with decline symptoms were sampled for fungal isolations. Based on this information and kriging estimates of root rot, 35 affected areas (average size: 108 m2; total 28% from the 1.5 ha trial) were delineated. Resistance index of a single tree was formed based on family adjusted proportion of live to infected trees and distance to the center of affected area. Heritability for resistance to root rot based on the value of this index, was high (0.37) and comparable to indices of growth traits. Correlations of family breeding estimates between resistance to root rot and the other traits were not significant, except for a weak, yet significant, positive correlation with diameter at breast height and branch diameter. Selection index including only growth traits (height and stem volume) had a negligible effect on damage by root rot. We detected a maximum genetic gain in resistance index of 33.7% when incorporating it into the selection index with positive gains for growth traits (6.5–11.0%). Two-stage selection with prior selection of the most resistant families was not superior to the use of selection index with only rot resistance included. Overall; rot resistance index appeared to be an effective tool in tree breeding for the selection of more resistant families, using the existing trials with natural (uncontrolled) infection View Full-Text
Keywords: selection index; root rot; growth; genetic gain; two-stage selection; heritability selection index; root rot; growth; genetic gain; two-stage selection; heritability
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Rieksts-Riekstiņš, R.; Zeltiņš, P.; Baliuckas, V.; Brūna, L.; Zaļuma, A.; Kāpostiņš, R. Pinus sylvestris Breeding for Resistance against Natural Infection of the Fungus Heterobasidion annosum. Forests 2020, 11, 23.

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