Conifer Cold Hardiness pp 187-219

Part of the Tree Physiology book series (TREE, volume 1) | Cite as

Molecular Biology of Conifer Frost Tolerance and Potential Applications to Tree Breeding

  • David Clapham
  • Inger Ekberg
  • C. H. Anthony Little
  • Outi Savolainen


Under natural environmental conditions, frost tolerance is temporally associated with dormancy in the shoots of conifers and other tree species native to the Temperate Zone. Both processes have been extensively studied, particularly in seedlings, but little attempt has been made to separate them experimentally or to distinguish between the various meristems and tissues present in the shoot. In seedlings, the annual cycle in each process can be summarized for both buds and the vascular cambium as follows: (1) shoot extension growth stops and terminal buds (in which leaf primordia are initiated) are set in late summer, after which the cambium ceases growing, bud development occurs and frost tolerance begins to increase; (2) rest (endodormancy) develops in the meristems during autumn after budset and, after exposure to chilling temperatures (about 2 to 10°C), changes into quiescence (ecodormancy) by mid-winter, when frost tolerance is maximal; and (3) frost tolerance is minimal (−3 to −10°C) from budbreak and cambial reactivation in the spring until growth cessation in the autumn (e.g. Riding and Little 1984; Mellerowicz et al. 1992a; Dormling 1993; Qamaruddin et al. 1993; other chapters in this book).

Key words

abscisic acid antifreeze proteins budset circadian timekeeping dehydrins dormancy frost tolerance photoperiod phytochrome Picea Pinus QTL rDNA 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Clapham
    • 1
  • Inger Ekberg
    • 1
  • C. H. Anthony Little
    • 2
  • Outi Savolainen
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Forest GeneticsSwedish University of Agricultural SciencesUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest ServiceMaritimes Forestry CentreFrederictonCanada
  3. 3.University of OuluOuluFinland

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