Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 90, Issue 3–4, pp 584–594 | Cite as

Multiple-population versus hierarchical conifer breeding programs: a comparison of genetic diversity levels

  • C. G. Williams
  • J. L. Hamrick
  • P. O. Lewis


Advanced-generation domestication programs for forest-tree species has raised some concerns about the maintenance of genetic diversity in forest-tree breeding programs. Genetic diversity in natural stands was compared with two genetic conservation options for a third-generation elite Pinus taeda breeding population. The breeding population was subdivided either on the basis of geographic origin and selection goals (multiple-population or MPBS option) or stratified according to genetic value (hierarchical or HOPE option). Most allelic diversity in the natural stands of loblolly pine is present in the domesticated breeding populations. This was true at the aggregate level for both multiple-population (MPBS) and the hierarchical (HOPE) populations. Individual subpopulations within each option had less genetic diversity but it did not decline as generations of improvement increased. Genetic differentiation within the subdivided breeding populations ranged from 1 to 5%, genetic variability is within each subpopulation rather than among subpopulations for both MPBS (>95%) and the HOPE approaches (>98%). Nei's Gst estimates for amongpopulation differentiation were biased upwards relative to estimates of θ from Weir and Cockerham (1984).

Key words

Multiple-population breeding (MPBS) Hierarchical open-ended breeding (HOPE) Genetic conservation Conifers 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. G. Williams
    • 1
  • J. L. Hamrick
    • 1
  • P. O. Lewis
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleigh North CarolinaUSA

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