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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Early selection for resistance to Heterobasidion parviporum in Norway spruce is not likely to adversely affect growth and wood quality traits in late-age performance

Chen, Zhi-Qiang; Lunden, Karl; Karlsson, Bo; Vos, Ingrid; Olson, Ake; Lundqvist, Sven-Olof; Stenlid, Jan; Wu, Harry X.; Gil, Maria Rosario Garcia; Elfstrand, Malin


Infections with Heterobasidion parviporum devalue the Norway spruce timber as the decayed wood does not meet the necessary quality requirements for sawing. To evaluate the incorporation of disease resistance in the Norway spruce breeding strategy, an inoculation experiment with H. parviporum on 2-year-old progenies of 466 open-pollinated families was conducted under greenhouse (nursery) conditions. Lesion length in the phloem (LL), fungal growth in sapwood (FG) and growth (D) were measured on an average of 10 seedlings for each family. The genetic variation and genetic correlations between both LL, FG and growth in the nursery trial and wood quality traits measured previously from 21-year old trees in two progeny trials, including solid-wood quality traits (wood density, and modulus of elasticity) and fiber properties traits (radial fiber width, tangential fiber width, fiber wall thickness, fiber coarseness, microfibril angle and fiber length). For both LL and FG, large coefficients of phenotypic variation (> 26%) and genetic variation (> 46%) were detected. Heritabilities of LL and FG were 0.33 and 0.42, respectively. We found no significant correlations between wood quality traits and growth in the field progeny trials with neither LL nor FG in the nursery trial. Our data suggest that the genetic gains may reach 41 and 52% from mass selection by LL and FG, respectively. Early selection for resistance to H. parviporum based on assessments of fungal spread in the sapwood in nursery material, FG, will not adversely affect growth and wood quality traits in late-age performance.


Pathogen resistance; Heterobasidion annosum; Forest tree breeding; Picea abies; Root rot; Heritability genetic correlation

Published in

European Journal of Forest Research
2018, Volume: 137, number: 4, pages: 517-525
Publisher: SPRINGER