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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Association genetics reveal candidate gene SNPs affecting wood properties in Pinus radiata

Dillon, S. K.; Nolan, M. F.; Wu, H.; Southerton, S. G.


Association or linkage disequilibrium (LD) mapping is an emerging approach for identifying molecular markers linked to phenotypic variation. Forest trees are ideally suited to association mapping due to their low genomic LD which permits high-resolution mapping of marker associations. Using this approach several single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) potentially influencing economically important wood traits (density, cellulose microfibril angle and modulus of elasticity) were identified in a Pinus radiata provenance trial. One hundred and forty-nine SNP markers from 44 cell wall candidate genes were examined. After accounting for population structure and multiple testing, 15 SNPs demonstrated significant associations at P < 0.05. We have demonstrated that linkage disequilibrium in the native populations of P. radiata decays within the length of a gene. Therefore, the identified associations may result from the SNP under examination, or at least a linked SNP within the same gene. Without accounting for multi-colinearity between markers, the proportion of trait variance attributed to individual SNPs ranged from 1.5% to 6.5%. SNP associations are presently undergoing validation in a second-generation Southern Tree Breeding Association progeny trial. The small proportion of total quantitative variation contributed by individual SNPs indicates molecular breeding strategies would achieve greatest gains using combinations of SNPs for marker-assisted selection. Establishing methods for efficient transfer of validated SNPs into breeding selection models is essential for the uptake of the marker technology identified here, and is the focus of ongoing research.


phenotypic variation; genetic variation; wood properties; molecular markers; marker-aided selection; Pinus radiata

Published in

Australian Forestry
2010, Volume: 73, number: 3, pages: 185-190

    SLU Authors

    • Wu, Harry

      • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)

    UKÄ Subject classification


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