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Effects of seedling age on blister rust resistance assessments in eastern white pine and its hybrid backcrosses

Lu, Pengxin, Derbowka, Darren
Canadian journal of forest research 2011 v.42 no.1 pp. 67-74
Cronartium ribicola, Pinus strobus, backcrossing, blister rust, genetic resistance, genotype, growing season, hybrids, mortality, pathogens, seedlings
Seedling age at the time of artificial white pine blister rust (Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fisch.) inoculation can affect the duration and accuracy of resistance assessments for eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) and its hybrid backcrosses and thereby affect advances in breeding programs intended to enhance genetic resistance to the pathogen. Based on postinoculation seedling mortality rates, up to 5 years were required to rank resistance of eastern white pine genotypes when seedlings were inoculated with C. ribicola at 2 years of age compared with less than 2 years when they were inoculated after the first growing season. In this study, we evaluated and compared consistency of genotype rankings in seedling mortality rates between the two inoculation approaches. Assessment results from inoculating seedlings after the first growing season proved as reliable as those achieved by inoculating them after the second growing season. Inoculating seedlings at a younger age not only substantially reduced experimental time and costs but also allowed a larger number of seedlings to be screened for resistance, leading to higher experimental precision.