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Research article2011Peer reviewed

Spatial variation in local pollen flow and mating success in a Picea abies clone archive and their implications for a novel "breeding without breeding" strategy

Shimono, A; Wang, XR; Torimaru, T; Lindgren, Dag; Karlsson, B


Currently, Norway spruce (Picea abies) breeding in Sweden is based on crosses between the best clones followed by clonal testing of the progenies to select for the long-term breeding population. An alternative breeding strategy called "Breeding without Breeding" (BwB) is proposed, which, in principle, relies on the DNA marker-based pedigree reconstruction from wind-pollinated progenies instead of controlled crosses. To test whether the pedigree structure could be established from progenies of clonal trials, we investigated the spatial pattern of local pollen flow and paternity assignment in a clone archive of Norway spruce. The results showed that 42% of the progeny can be assigned to fathers within 30-m distance with high confidence. Effective pollen dispersal decreased rapidly with distance and followed exponential distribution on local scale. The extent of close-neighbor (within 6 m) mating ranged from 0% to 48% among grafts with an average of 13%. Distance explained 25% deviance in mating success, and other factors such as phenology and spatial configuration of the clones should have contributed the rest. The success of parentage assignment in clone archive opens up the possibility to apply BwB in clonal trials of species that are easy to propagate vegetatively. This procedure could substantially shorten the breeding cycle and still give similar gain per year as the conventional breeding.


Breeding strategy; Male reproductive success; Paternity assignment; Pollen dispersal; SSR markers

Published in

Tree Genetics and Genomes
2011, Volume: 7, number: 3, pages: 499-509