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Trees

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 973–983 | Cite as

Figured grain in aspen is heritable and not affected by graft-transmissible signals

  • Youran Fan
  • Kendal Rupert
  • Alex C. Wiedenhoeft
  • Keith Woeste
  • Christian Lexer
  • Richard MeilanEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Figure can add value to wood products, but its occurrence is unpredictable. A first step in reliably producing figured wood is determining whether it is faithfully transmitted to progeny via sexual and asexual reproduction. We describe a 26-year-old male aspen genotype, designated ‘Curly Poplar’, which was shown to be a Populus × canescens hybrid using microsatellite markers. All rooted cuttings of this genotype exhibited an undulating pattern on the radial surface that was not seen in the control trees, all of which showed a smooth radial surface and straight grain. We observed spiral grain with a magnitude of 2.77 ± 0.12°/cm from vertical in 11-month-old, field-grown rooted Curly Poplar cuttings, but spiral grain was not apparent in wood from the 26-year-old mature ortet that supplied these cuttings. Veneer cut from the mature tree exhibited a novel type of figure that we called ‘Scattered Moiré’. Reciprocal grafts between Curly Poplar and various non-figured aspens showed that a graft-transmissible signals did not appear to be involved in figure formation in Curly Poplar or the induction of figure in straight-grained trees. Curly Poplar was crossed to a straight-grained clone to test the inheritance of the gene(s) responsible for figure. Samples from the resulting population revealed that 79 out of 377 seedlings exhibited figure. A Chi-square test led to the rejection of a 1:1 segregation ratio between figured and non-figured phenotypes (p < 0.01), but not of a 1:3 segregation ratio (p 0.0793). Overall, these analyses showed that figure in Curly Poplar is under genetic control, but its inheritance may not be simple.

Keywords

Curly Poplar Scattered Moiré Figured wood Heritability Populus × canescens Wood quality 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We are grateful to Dr. Richard Hall (Iowa State University) who provided Populus cultivars Crandon, Sherrill, and 4877; and Dr. Michael Cunningham (ArborGen, Inc., Summerville, SC), who provided Ca-2-75, the straight-grained P. × canescens. We also thank Mr. Patrick McGovern for producing seeds for the F1 population, and providing the female parent, A502. For their assistance with field work, we thank James McKenna, Brian Beheler, Burk Thompson, Stuart Christopher, and William Skrobutt. This project was partially funded by generous donations from Dr. Samuel Grober and his son, David. Additional support was provided by the Hardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration Center, Northern Research Station, USDA Forest Service, and by a grant from the British Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest. The use of trade names is for the information and convenience of the reader and does not imply official endorsement or approval by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Forest Service of any product to the exclusion of others that may be suitable.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Youran Fan
    • 1
  • Kendal Rupert
    • 1
  • Alex C. Wiedenhoeft
    • 2
  • Keith Woeste
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christian Lexer
    • 4
  • Richard Meilan
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.USDA Forest ServiceForest Products LaboratoryMadisonUSA
  3. 3.USDA Forest Service, Northern Research StationHardwood Tree Improvement and Regeneration CenterWest LafayetteUSA
  4. 4.Department of BiologyUniversity of FribourgFribourgSwitzerland

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