Annals of Forest Science

, 75:85 | Cite as

Genetic variation in susceptibility to pine wilt disease of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Aiton) half-sib families

  • Isabel Carrasquinho
  • Ana Lisboa
  • Maria L. Inácio
  • Elsa Gonçalves
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Mediterranean Pines


Key message

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.


Genetic 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.

Supplementary material

13595_2018_759_MOESM1_ESM.xlsx (11 kb)
Table S1 List of the EBLUPs for the family effects of plant height and diameter. (XLSX 11 kb)
13595_2018_759_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (17 kb)
Table S2 List of the EBLUPs for the family effects of survival and for predicted family survival means. (XLSX 17 kb)
13595_2018_759_MOESM3_ESM.docx (80 kb)
Figure S1 Average, maximum and minimum air temperature (°C) and relative humidity (%) inside the greenhouse during the 157 days of the inoculation trial. (DOCX 80 kb)


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Investigação Agrária e Veterinária, I. P. (INIAV)Edifício Estação Florestal NacionalOeirasPortugal
  2. 2.Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food (LEAF), Instituto Superior de AgronomiaUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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