Tree Genetics & Genomes

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 443–453 | Cite as

The effectiveness of cloning for the genetic improvement of Mexican white cypress Cupressus lusitanica (Mill.)

  • Heidi S. DungeyEmail author
  • John H. Russell
  • João Costa e Silva
  • Charlie B. Low
  • Mark A. Miller
  • Kane R. Fleet
  • Graham T. Stovold
Original Paper


Two trials on Mexican cypress Cupressus lusitanica Miller in the North Island of New Zealand were assessed for diameter at breast height and at one site, subjective scores for branch size and stem canker (caused by Seiridium spp.) at age 6 from planting. The trials comprised 15 open-pollinated families, represented by both cloned and seedling progeny. Linear mixed model methodology, using a spatial model for the residuals, was applied to estimate genetic parameters. Estimated narrow-sense heritabilities were moderate to high for diameter at breast height (range from 0.46 to 0.62), stem canker (≈0.30) and branch size (range from 0.23 to 0.45) and did not appear to differ significantly between propagule types for all traits. Clonally replicated progeny led to an increase in accuracy of selection for additive genetic merit when compared with seedling testing, with the improvement being greater for traits with lower narrow-sense heritabilities. Estimated additive genetic correlations between cloned and seedling progeny were moderate to high (≥0.65) for diameter and branch size, indicating that selection decisions would not be substantially changed using either propagule type for progeny testing. All estimates of non-additive genetic variation based on the cloned progeny were non-significant. The use of spatial analysis was effective for diameter and branch size, but not for stem canker. No significant genotype by environment interaction was detected for diameter. Implications of the results for breeding and deployment of C. lusitanica are discussed.


Cupressus lusitanica Clones Genetic parameters Propagule type Stem canker Seiridium 



We would like to acknowledge the past research on cypresses and in particular the contributions of Luigi Gea, Jacqui Aimers, John Miller and Tony Shelbourne. Thanks to Marie Heaphy for providing the map with trial sites. This research was funded by the Future Forests Research, Diversified Species Theme, via the Foundation for Research Science and Technology contract CO4X0805: Diverse Forests and the final version of the paper through Scion. The financial support given by the Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Lisboa, Portugal) through the Ciência 2007 initiative to João Costa e Silva is gratefully acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heidi S. Dungey
    • 1
    Email author
  • John H. Russell
    • 2
  • João Costa e Silva
    • 3
  • Charlie B. Low
    • 1
  • Mark A. Miller
    • 1
  • Kane R. Fleet
    • 1
  • Graham T. Stovold
    • 1
  1. 1.ScionRotoruaNew Zealand
  2. 2.Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources OperationsCowichan Lake Research StationMesachie LakeCanada
  3. 3.Centro de Estudos Florestais, Departamento dos Recursos Naturais, Ambiente e Território, Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade Técnica de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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