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Research article2016Peer reviewedOpen access

Performance of Seven Tree Breeding Strategies Under Conditions of Inbreeding Depression

Wu HX, Hallingback HR, Sanchez L


In the domestication and breeding of tree species that suffer from inbreeding depression ( ID), the long-term performance of different breeding strategies is poorly known. Therefore, seven tree breeding strategies including single population, subline, selfing, and nucleus breeding were simulated using a multi-locus model with additive, partial, and complete dominance allele effects, and with intermediate, U-shaped, and major allele distributions. The strategies were compared for genetic gain, inbreeding accumulation, capacity to show ID, the frequencies and fixations of unfavorable alleles, and genetic variances in breeding and production populations. Measured by genetic gain of production population, the nucleus breeding and the single breeding population with mass selection strategies were equal or superior to subline and single breeding population with within-family selection strategies in all simulated scenarios, in spite of their higher inbreeding coefficients. Inbreeding and cross-breeding effectively decreased ID and could in some scenarios produce genetic gains during the first few generations. However, in all scenarios, considerable fixation of unfavorable alleles rendered the purging performance of selfing and cross-breeding strategies ineffective, and resulted in substantial inferiority in comparison to the other strategies in the long-term.


breeding strategy; finite locus model; multiple population; subline; nucleus; inbred-hybrid; genetic gain

Published in

2016, Volume: 6, number: 3, pages: 529-540