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Genetic variation of wood tracheid traits and their relationships with growth and wood density in clones of Pinus tabuliformis

Ouyang, Fangqun, Ma, Jianwei, An, Sanping, Wang, Junhui, Weng, Yuhui
Journal of forestry research 2018 v.29 no.4 pp. 1021-1030
Pinus tabuliformis, breeding programs, clones, correlation, earlywood, genetic variation, growth traits, industry, latewood, multiple trait selection, prediction, pulp, pulpwood, seed orchards, tracheids, tree and stand measurements, wood density, wood quality
To improve wood quality for pulpwood industries, it is important to examine not only wood density but also its components, especially tracheid characteristics. We studied genetic variations in the following tracheid traits by earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW): tracheid length (TL), double wall thickness (WT), radial lumen diameter (R_D1), tangential lumen diameter (T_D1), radial central diameter (R_D2), and tangential central diameter (T_D2). We also studied the relationship with the following growth traits: diameter at breast height (DBH), height (H), crown breadth south-north axis (NSC), crown breadth east–west axis (EWC), ring width (RW), latewood percentage (LWP), and wood density (WD). All sample materials were collected from a 33-year old clonal seed orchard of Pinus tabuliformis Carr. Genetic variation among clones was moderate for all tracheid traits, 9.49–26.03%. Clones significantly affected WT, R_D1, R_D2, T_D1, T_D2, and the two ratios WT/R_D1 and TL/T_D2 in EW but had no effects in LW. Clones significantly affected TL in LW but had no effects in EW. [Formula: see text] was higher in LW (0.50) than in EW (0.20) for TL, while [Formula: see text] was higher in EW (0.27–0.46) for other tracheid traits and the two ratios (TL/T_D2 and WT/R_D1) than in EW (0.06–0.22). WD and TL were significantly positively correlated, but WT and TL were negatively correlated both at individual and clone levels; all tracheid diameters and the four ratio values (EW_WT/R_D1, LW_WT/R_D1, EW_TL/T_D2 and LW_TL/T_D2), were strongly positively correlated with DBH, H, NSC, WEC and RW, and strongly negatively correlated with WD both at individual and clone levels. The most important variables for predicting WD were LW_TL, EW_WT and R_D1 in both EW and LW (r² = 0.22). Selecting the top 10% of the clones by DBH would improve DBH growth by 12.19% (wood density was reduced by 0.14%) and produced similar responses between EW and LW for all tracheid traits: a reduction of 0.94 and 3.69% in tracheid length and increases in tracheid diameters (from 0.36 to 5.24%) and double wall thickness (0.07 and 0.87%). The two ratios WT/R_D1 and TL/T_D2 across tissues (EW and LW) declined 0.59 and 4.56%, respectively. The decreased tracheid length and the ratio between tracheid length and diameter is disadvantageous for pulp production. The unfavorable relationship of tracheid traits with wood density indicate that multiple trait selection using optimal economic weights and optimal breeding strategies are recommended for the current long-term breeding program for P. tabuliformis.