Quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of growth and vegetative propagation traits in Eucalyptus nitens full-sib families
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- Thumma, B.R., Baltunis, B.S., Bell, J.C. et al. Tree Genetics & Genomes (2010) 6: 877. doi:10.1007/s11295-010-0298-6
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Tree growth and vegetative propagation are complex but important traits under selection in many tree improvement programmes. To understand the genetic control of these traits, we conducted a quantitative trait locus (QTL) study in three full-sib families of Eucalyptus nitens growing at two different sites. One family growing at Ridgley, Tasmania had 300 progeny and two clonally replicated families growing at Mt. Gambier, South Australia had 327 and 210 progeny. Tree growth was measured over several years at both sites and percentages of roots produced by either stem cuttings or tissue culture were assessed in the two Mt. Gambier families. Linkage analysis of growth traits revealed several QTLs for later year traits but few for early year traits, reflecting temporal differences in the heritabilities of these traits. Two growth QTL positions, one on LG8 and another on LG11 were common between the Ridgley and Mt. Gambier families. Four QTLs were observed for each of the two vegetative propagation methods. Two QTLs for vegetative propagation on LG7 and LG11 were validated in the second family at Mt. Gambier. These results suggest that growth and vegetative propagation traits are controlled by several small effect loci. The QTLs identified in this study are useful starting points for identifying candidate genes using the Eucalyptus grandis genome sequence.