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    Limber pine (Pinus flexilis James) co-evolved with the mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins; MPB) and is now also challenged by the non-native pathogen Cronartium ribicola (J.C. Fisch.) that causes the lethal disease white pine blister rust (WPBR). Previous research suggests that trees infected with WPBR can be preferred hosts for MPB. Using resin duct traits associated with MPB resistance, we tested for a relationship between resistance to MPB and WPBR in limber pine, in the absence of either biological agent. These analyses will help evaluate if MPB historically may have contributed to natural selection for WPBR resistance in advance of WPBR invasion, and could help explain the unusually high frequency of the dominant Cr4 allele for complete resistance to WPBR in limber pine populations of the Southern Rocky Mountains. Resin duct production, density and relative duct area did not differ between healthy trees previously inferred to carry the dominant Cr4 allele and trees that lack it at 22 sites, though some duct traits varied with elevation. MPB resistance does not appear to have played an evolutionary role in contributing to the high frequency of Cr4 in naïve populations, however, MPB may affect the future evolution of resistance to WPBR in the pines where the two pests coincide and WPBR will affect forest recovery after MPB epidemics. MPB-WPBR interactions in a changing climate will affect the future trajectory of limber pine.

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    Holtz, Christine T.; Schoettle, Anna W. 2018. Is resistance to mountain pine beetle associated with genetic resistance to white pine blister rust in limber pine? Forests. 9: 595.


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    Pinus flexilis James, Dendroctonus ponderosae Hopkins, Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fisch., resistance, resin ducts, major gene resistance, natural selection, elevation, plant defense

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