Genetic variation and genotype by environment interaction in the susceptibility of Abies nordmanniana (Steven) Spach to the fungus Neonectria neomacrospora (Booth & Samuels) Mantiri & Samuels

  • Jing Xu
  • Ole K. Hansen
  • Iben M. Thomsen
  • Ulrik B. Nielsen
Original Paper


Key message

Pronounced clonal variation and moderate to high broad-sense heritability estimates of susceptibility to Neonectria neomacrospora were found in Abies nordmanniana in three sites. Significant genotype by environment (G × E) interaction was detected across sites.


Nordmann fir, a widely used Christmas tree species in Europe, has, since 2011, been increasingly damaged by a canker disease caused by Neonectria neomacrospora.


The objective was to study the genetic variation and genotype by environment interaction in the susceptibility of Nordmann fir to N. neomacrospora.


Damage caused by N. neomacrospora was evaluated using a visual scale in three Nordmann fir clonal seed orchards in Denmark, partly containing the same clones.


Damage due to N. neomacrospora was substantial at all three sites, and no clone was completely resistant to N. neomacrospora, but a large genetic variation in the susceptibility was detected among clones. Estimates of single-site individual broad-sense heritability for susceptibility varied between 0.38 and 0.47. The average type-B genetic correlation for damage score across sites was 0.34.


Genetic variation was very pronounced, and significant G × E interactions were detected for susceptibility. Further investigations of narrow-sense heritability, expression of the trait in younger material, and identification of the cause of G × E for N. neomacrospora susceptibility in Nordmann fir across different sites are recommended.


Broad-sense heritability Resistance breeding Spatial genetic analysis 



We give thanks to Timothy Robert Dowse and Lars Nørgaard Hansen who carried out the field evaluations and to Knud Nor Nielsen for helping with data transformation in R. We are grateful to the anonymous reviewer and the associate editors Cécile Robin and Erwin Dreyer for their critical reviews and suggestions.

Funding information

The GB Hartmann family foundation grant no. 11, 2014–2015, part 3, Danish Nature Agency and Vemmetofte Kloster, which we gratefully acknowledge for supporting this study. We also thank the Chinese Scholarship Council (CSC) for providing the Ph.D. scholarship to Jing Xu.


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Copyright information

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

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource ManagementUniversity of CopenhagenFrederiksberg CDenmark

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