Genetic variation in susceptibility to pine wilt disease of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) half-sib families
This paper presents a greenhouse study for assessing the genetic variation in maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) in response to pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner et Buhren) Nickle), which is a causal agent of pine wilt disease. Fifteen out of 96 half-sib families were selected as less susceptible. This experiment is an important first step for creating a resistance breeding program.
Pine wilt disease is caused by the pinewood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus (Steiner et Buhren) Nickle), a quarantine pest, and is a concern to maritime pine (Pinus pinaster) in Portugal due to its economic, environmental, and social impacts. This disease is regarded as a major threat to European forests.
This paper aimed to evaluate the genetic variation in maritime pine families that were inoculated with pinewood nematode, identify the most resistant families, and establish the guidelines for a resistance improvement program.
Two-year-old half-sib progenies obtained from 96 plus trees were inoculated. The plants were monitored for survival on four different dates. The statistical analysis followed the mixed model theory.
Genetic variability of the susceptibility to pine wilt disease was observed. At 157 days after inoculation, the 15 highest genetic ranking families out of 96 were selected, having a predicted survival mean of 15.6% instead of 11.0% on average for the all 96 families.
This study allows for the implementation of an improvement program to help control pine wilt disease.
KeywordsGenetic variability Mixed models Bursaphelenchus xylophilus Progeny test Tree improvement Resistance
The authors gratefully acknowledge “Herdade da Comporta” for providing maritime pine seeds to implement this study.
This study was financially supported by the EC 7th Framework project REPHRAME (KBBE.2010.1.4-09, “Analysis of the potential of the pine wood nematode (Bursaphelenchus xylophilus) to spread, survive, and cause pine wilt in European coniferous forests in support of EU plant health policy”) and by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (PT) (UID/AGR/04129/2013).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.
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