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Research article2018Peer reviewedOpen access

Genetic control of transition from juvenile to mature wood with respect to microfibril angle in Norway spruce (Picea abies) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta)

Hayatgheibi, Haleh; Forsberg, Nils Erik Gustaf; Lundqvist, Sven-Olof; Morling, Tommy; Mellerowicz, Ewa J.; Karlsson, Bo; Wu, Harry X.; Garcia-Gil, M. Rosario


Genetic control of microfibril angle (MFA) transition from juvenile wood to mature wood was evaluated in Norway spruce (Picea abies (L.) Karst) and lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta Douglas ex Loudon). Increment cores were collected at breast height (1.3 m) from 5664 trees in two 21-year-old Norway spruce progeny trials in southern Sweden and from 823 trees in two lodgepole pine progeny trials, aged 34-35 years, in northern Sweden. Radial variations in MFA from pith to bark were measured for each core using SilviScan. To estimate MFA transition from juvenile wood to mature wood, a threshold level of MFA 20 degrees was considered, and six different regression functions were fitted to the MFA profile of each tree after exclusion of outliers, following three steps. The narrow-sense heritability estimates (h(2)) obtained for MFA transition were highest based on the slope function, ranging from 0.21 to 0.23 for Norway spruce and from 0.34 to 0.53 for lodgepole pine, while h2 were mostly non-significant based on the logistic function, under all exclusion methods. Results of this study indicate that it is possible to select for an earlier MFA transition from juvenile wood to mature wood in Norway spruce and lodgepole pine selective breeding programs, as the genetic gains (Delta G) obtained in direct selection of this trait were very high in both species.


lodgepole pine; Norway spruce; transition wood; microfibril angle; genetic variation; early selection

Published in

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
2018, Volume: 48, number: 11, pages: 1358-1365