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    Author(s): C. Dana Nelson; C. Weng; Thomas L. Kubisiak; M. Stine; C.L. Brown
    Date: 2003
    Source: Journal of Heredity 94(5): 392-398
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: Download Publication  (535 KB)


    The grass stage is an inherent and distinctive developmental trait of longleaf pine (Pinus palustris), in which height growth in the first few years after germination is suppressed. In operational forestry practice the grass stage extends for nvo to several years and often plays a role in planting failures and decisions to plant alternative species. Interspecies hybrids involving loblolly (P. taeda) and slash (P. elliottii var. elliottii) pines have been investigated as a means to produce planting stock with improved early height growth and to develop backcross populations for advanced generation breeding. We have reevaluated data from several interspecies populations, with the objective of estimating the number of genes contributing to the difference in first-year height growth between longleaf and loblolly pines. Estimates based on means and variances of parental and interspecies hybrid and backcross families suggest a minimum of 4 to 10 genes with standard errors less than half the estimates. These results suggest that the grass stage has evolved through the accumulation of alleles at several loci, each with small effects on various components of first-year height growth. Given the complexity of the grass-stage trait, tree breeders may need to combine genetic marker analysis with recurrent backcross breeding to efficiently develop longleaf pine planting stock for improved reforestation.

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    Nelson, C. Dana; Weng, C.; Kubisiak, Thomas L.; Stine, M.; Brown, C.L. 2003. On the number of genes controlling the grass stage in longleaf pine. Journal of Heredity 94(5): 392-398

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