Key message Creation of second generation Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) hybrids based on parents from geographically distant locations did not appreciably increase variance in height, frost damage and bud break. New and favorable trait combinations between height and the two adaptive traits were found in the F2 populations.
Context Increased genetic variance and new trait combinations can improve selection efficiency in terms of selection response and increased adaptability.
Aims This project tested a novel method for generating higher genetic variance and new trait combinations in Douglas-fir populations.
Methods Parents from Southern British Columbia (BC), Washington (WA), Oregon (OR), and Northern BC (NBC) were crossed within each provenance; then selections from BC were crossed with the other sources to create three F1 interpopulation generations. Unrelated random selections from the same F1 population were subsequently crossed to produce three F2 populations. The parental, F1 and F2 generations were concurrently grown in three field tests and were evaluated for height, frost damage, and bud break date.
Results Significant segregation variances were found only in the BCxNBC cross for height in two sites and frost damage in one site and in the BCxOR cross for bud break in one site. In the BCxNBC cross, correlations between breeding values for height and frost damage changed from 0.71 in F1 to − 0.04 in F2 and between height and bud break from − 0.71 to − 0.26. In the BC-OR cross, correlations between height and bud break changed from − 0.71 in F1 to − 0.49 in F2.
Conclusion Our results suggest that creation of wide-cross hybrids may not be very effective in increasing segregation variance in traditional tree improvement programs but in some cases may be considered to increase diversity of trait combinations.
Pseudotsuga menziesii, Genetic variance, Linkage, Intraspecific hybridization, Tree breeding
Benowicz, A., Stoehr, M., Hamann, A. et al. Estimation of the F2 generation segregation variance and relationships among growth, frost damage, and bud break in coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) wide-crosses. Annals of Forest Science 77, 28 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13595-020-0925-9
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The datasets generated during the current study belong to the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. They are available from Michael Stoehr on reasonable request.