Genetic parameters for growth and wood chemical properties in Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids

Original Paper


Key message

Growth and wood chemical properties are important pulpwood traits. Their narrow-sense heritability ranged from 0.03 to 0.49 in Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids, indicating low to moderate levels of genetic control. Genetic correlations were mostly favorable for simultaneous improvement on growth and wood traits. Additive and non-additive genetic effects should be considered in making a hybrid breeding strategy.


Eucalypt hybrids are widely planted for pulpwood production purposes. Genetic variations and correlations for growth and wood chemical traits remain to be explored in Eucalyptus interspecific hybrids.


Our objectives were to clarify the heritability of growth and wood chemical traits and determine the genetic correlations between traits and between trials in E. urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids.


Two trials of 59 E. urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids derived from an incomplete factorial mating design were investigated at age 10 for growth (height and diameter) and wood chemical properties (basic density, cellulose content, hemi-cellulose content, lignin content, and syringyl-to-guaiacyl ratio). Mixed linear models were used to estimate genetic parameters.


Narrow-sense heritability estimates were 0.13−0.22 in growth and 0.03−0.49 in wood traits, indicating low to moderate levels of additive genetic control. Genetic correlations were mostly positively significant for growth with basic density and cellulose content but negatively significant with hemi-cellulose and lignin contents, being favourablefavorable for pulpwood breeding purpose. Type-B correlations between sites were significant for all the traits except diameter and lignin content.


Hybrid superiority warrants the breeding efforts. An appropriate breeding strategy should be able to capture both additive and non-additive genetic effects.


Eucalyptus hybrid Growth Wood chemical property Heritability Genetic correlation Type-B correlation 



The authors would like to thank Kunming Wu, Juying Wu, Jianwen Li, Wei Wu, Changfu Hong, and Bingnan Wang for the valuable cooperation in plant material establishment and maintenance. We also thank Zhaoyuan Zhang, Jingquan Lin, Yong Guo, and Xiaoli Yu for the kind assistance in the field trial investigation and wood sample collection. We are grateful to Shiyu Fu for the standard measurement of the wood chemical properties for NIR calibration establishment.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Apiolaza LA, Raymond CA, Yeo BJ (2005) Genetic variation of physical and chemical wood properties of Eucalyptus globulus. Silvae Genet 54:160–166Google Scholar
  2. Balasaravanan T, Chezhian P, Kamalakannan R, Ghosh M, Yasodha R, Varghese M, Gurumurthi K (2005) Determination of inter- and intra-species genetic relationships among six Eucalyptus species based on inter-simple sequence repeats (ISSR). Tree Physiol 25:1295–1302. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bouvet JM, Vigneron P (1995) Age trends in variances and heritabilities in Eucalyptus factorial mating designs. Silvae Genet 44:206–216Google Scholar
  4. Colin F, Laborie M-P, Fortin M (2015) Wood properties: future needs, measurement and modeling. Ann For Sci 72:655–670. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Denis M, Favreau B, Ueno S, Camus-Kulandaivelu L, Chaix G, Gion J-M, Nourrisier-Mountou S, Polidori J, Bouvet J-M (2013) Genetic variation of wood chemical traits and association with underlying genes in Eucalyptusurophylla. Tree Genet Genomes 9:927–942. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Dickson RL, Raymond CA, Joe W, Wilkinson CA (2003) Segregation of Eucalyptus dunnii logs using acoustics. For Ecol Manag 179:243–251. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dieters MJ, White TL, Littell RC, Hodge GR (1995) Application of approximate variances of variance components and their ratios in genetic tests. Theor Appl Genet 91:15–24. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Eldridge K, Davidson J, Harwood C, van Wyk G (1993) Eucalypt domestication and breeding. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  9. FAO (1979) Eucalypts for planting. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  10. Gan S, Li M, Li F, Wu K, Wu J, Bai J (2004) Genetic analysis of growth and susceptibility to bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum) in Eucalyptus by interspecific factorial crossing. Silvae Genet 53:254–258Google Scholar
  11. Gilmour AR, Gogel BJ, Cullis BR, Thompson R (2009) ASReml user guide release 3.0. VSN International Ltd, Hemel HempsteadGoogle Scholar
  12. Gonçalves JLM, Alvares CA, Higa AR, Silva LD, Alfenas AC, Stahl J, Ferraz SFB, Lima WP, Brancalion PHS, Hubner A, Bouillet J-PD, Laclau J-P, Nouvellon Y, Epron D (2013) Integrating genetic and silvicultural strategies to minimize abiotic and biotic constraints in Brazilian eucalypt plantations. For Ecol Manag 301:6–27. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Greaves BL, Borralho NMG, Raymond CA (1997) Breeding objective for plantation eucalypts grown for production of kraft pulp. For Sci 43:465–472Google Scholar
  14. Hamilton MG, Raymond CA, Harwood CE, Potts BM (2009) Genetic variation in Eucalyptus nitens pulpwood and wood shrinkage traits. Tree Genet Genomes 5:307–316. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. He X, Li F, Li M, Weng Q, Shi J, Mo X, Gan S (2012) Quantitative genetics of cold hardiness and growth in Eucalyptus as estimated from E. urophylla × E. tereticornis hybrids. New For 43:383–394. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Hein PRG, Bouvet J-M, Mandrou E, Vigneron P, Clair B, Chaix G (2012) Age trends of microfibril angle inheritance and their genetic and environmental correlations with growth, density and chemical properties in Eucalyptus urophylla S. T. Blake wood. Ann For Sci 69:681–691. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hung TD, Brawner JT, Roger M, Lee DJ, Simon S, Thinh HH, Dieters MJ (2015) Estimates of genetic parameters for growth and wood properties in Eucalyptus pellita F. Muell. to support tree breeding in Vietnam. Ann For Sci 72:205–217. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kerr RJ, Dieters MJ, Tier B (2004) Simulation of the comparative gains from four different hybrid tree breeding strategies. Can J For Res 34:209–220. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kien ND, Quang TH, Jansson G, Harwood CE, Clapham D, von Arnold S (2009) Cellulose content as a selection trait in breeding for kraft pulp yield in Eucalyptus urophylla. Ann For Sci 66:711. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Lee DJ, Nikles DG, Dickinson GR (2001) Prospects of eucalypt species, including interspecific hybrids from South Africa, for hardwood plantations in marginal subtropical environments in Queensland, Australia. South Afr For J 190:89–94. Google Scholar
  21. Li C, Weng Q, Chen J-B, Li M, Zhou C, Chen S, Zhou W, Guo D, Lu C, Chen J-C, Xiang D, Gan S (2017) Genetic parameters for growth and wood mechanical properties in Eucalyptus cloeziana F. Muell. New For 48:33–49. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Liang K (2000) Study on trial of Eucalyptus species/provenance. For Res 13:203–208Google Scholar
  23. Libby WJ, Rauter RM (1984) Advantages of clonal forestry. For Chron 60(3):145–149. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Liu Y, Wang D (2005) Rapid propagation of Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis cv M1 by tissue culture. J Southwest Agri Univ (Nat Sci) 27:237–239Google Scholar
  25. Lu Z, Xu J, Bai J, Zhou W (2000) A study on wood property variation between Eucalyptus tereticornis and Eucalyptus camalduensis. For Res 13:370–376Google Scholar
  26. Luo JZ, Arnold RJ, Cao JG, Lu WH, Ren SQ, Xie YJ, Xu LA (2012) Variation in pulp wood traits between eucalypt clones across sites and implications for deployment strategies. J Trop For Sci 24:70–82Google Scholar
  27. Lynch M, Gabriel W (1987) Environmental tolerance. Am Nat 129(2):283–303. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Madhibha T, Murepa R, Musokonyi C, Gapare W (2013) Genetic parameter estimates for interspecific Eucalyptus hybrids and implications for hybrid breeding strategy. New For 44:63–84. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Malan FS, Verryn SD (1996) Effect of genotype-by-environment interaction on the wood properties and qualities of four-year-old Eucalyptus grandis and E. grandis hybrids. South Afr For J 176:47–53. Google Scholar
  30. Midgley SJ (2013) Making a difference: celebrating success in Asia. Aust For 76:73–75. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mutete P, Murepa R, Gapare WJ (2015) Genetic parameters in subtropical pine F1 hybrids: heritabilities, between-trait correlations and genotype-by-environment interactions. Tree Genet Genomes 11:93. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nikles DG (1992) Hybrids of forest trees: the bases of hybrid superiority and a discussion of breeding methods. In: Lambeth C, Dvorak W (eds) Resolving tropical forest resource concerns through tree improvement, gene conservation and domestication of new species. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, pp 333–347Google Scholar
  33. Paul AD, Foster GS, Caldwell T, McRae J (1997) Trends in genetic and environmental parameters for height, diameter, and volume in a multilocation clonal study with loblolly pine. For Sci 43:87–98Google Scholar
  34. Peng S-Y, Xu J-M, Li G-Y, Chen Y (2013) Growth and genetic analysis of 42 Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis clones in Leizhou peninsula in China. J Central South Univ For Tech 33(4):23–27Google Scholar
  35. Pigliucci M (2005) Evolution of phenotypic plasticity: where are we going now? Trends Ecol Evol 20:481–486. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Poke FS, Potts BM, Vaillancourt RE, Raymond CA (2006) Genetic parameters for lignin, extractives and decay in Eucalyptus globulus. Ann For Sci 63:813–821. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Potts BM, Dungey HS (2004) Interspecific hybridization of Eucalyptus: key issues for breeders and geneticists. New For 27:115–138. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Pryor LD, Johnson LAS (1971) A classification of the eucalypts. Australian National University Press, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  39. Raymond CA (2002) Genetics of Eucalyptus wood properties. Ann For Sci 59:525–531. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Rencoret J, Gutierrez A, del Rio J (2007) Lipid and lignin composition of woods from different eucalypt species. Holzforschung 61:165–174. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Retif ECL, Stanger TK (2009) Genetic parameters of pure and hybrid populations of Eucalyptus grandis and E. urophylla and implications for hybrid breeding strategy. South For 71:133–140. Google Scholar
  42. Salmén L (2015) Wood morphology and properties from molecular perspectives. Ann For Sci 72(6):679–684. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Scheiner SM (1993) Genetics and evolution of phenotypic plasticity. Annu Rev Ecol Syst 24:35–68. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Shen G, Zhan W, Chen H, Xing Y (2014) Dominance and epistasis are the main contributors to the heterosis for plant height in rice. Plant Sci 215–216:11–18. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  45. Stackpole DJ, Vaillancourt RE, Rodrigues J, Potts BM (2011) Genetic variation in the chemical components of Eucalyptus globulus wood. G3 1:151–159. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  46. Tsuchikawa S (2007) A review of recent near infrared research for wood and paper. Appl Spectroscop Rev 42:43–71. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Turnbull JW (2007) Development of sustainable forestry plantations in China: a review. ACIAR impact assessment series report No. 45. ACIAR, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  48. Via S, Lande R (1985) Genotype-environment interaction and the evolution of phenotypic plasticity. Evolution 39:509–523. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Volker PW, Potts BM, Borralho NMG (2008) Genetic parameters of intra- and inter-specific hybrids of Eucalyptus globulus and E. nitens. Tree Genet Genomes 4:445–460. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Wallis ASA, Wearne RH, Wright PJ (1996) Analytical characteristics of plantation eucalypt woods relating to kraft pulp yields. APPITA J 49:427–432Google Scholar
  51. Wang H (2010) A Chinese appreciation of eucalypts. Science Press, BeijingGoogle Scholar
  52. Wei RP (2005) Genetic diversity and sustainable productivity of eucalypt plantations in China. In: Wang H (ed) Changing patterns: tree introduction and phytogeography. China Forestry Publishing House, Beijing, pp 19–27Google Scholar
  53. Wei X, Borralho NMG (1998) Genetic control of growth traits of Eucalyptus urophylla S. T. Blake in South East China. Silvae Genet 47:158–165Google Scholar
  54. Weng Q, He X, Li F, Li M, Yu X, Shi J, Gan S (2014) Hybridizing ability and heterosis between Eucalyptus urophylla and E. tereticornis for growth and wood density over two environments. Silvae Genet 63:15–24Google Scholar
  55. Weng YH, Adams GW, Fullarton MS, Tosh KJ (2015) Genetic parameters of growth and stem quality traits for jack pine second-generation progeny tested in New Brunswick. Can J For Res 45:36–43. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Wu RL (1997) Genetic control of macro- and micro-environmental sensitivities in Populus. Theor Appl Genet 94:104–114. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© INRA and Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Tree Genetics and BreedingChinese Academy of ForestryBeijingChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of State Forestry Administration on Tropical ForestryResearch Institute of Tropical Forestry, Chinese Academy of ForestryGuangzhouChina

Personalised recommendations