A long-term series of experiments to map QTL influencing wood property traits in loblolly pine has been completed. These experiments were designed to identify and subsequently verify QTL in multiple genetic backgrounds, environments, and growing seasons. Verification of QTL is necessary to substantiate a biological basis for observed marker-trait associations, to provide precise estimates of the magnitude of QTL effects, and to predict QTL expression at a given age or in a particular environment. Verification was based on the repeated detection of QTL among populations, as well as among multiple growing seasons for each population. Temporal stability of QTL was moderate, with approximately half being detected in multiple seasons. Fewer QTL were common to different populations, but the results are nonetheless encouraging for restricted applications of marker-assisted selection. QTL from larger populations accounted for less phenotypic variation than QTL detected in smaller populations, emphasizing the need for experiments employing much larger families. Additionally, 18 candidate genes related to lignin biosynthesis and cell wall structure were mapped genetically. Several candidate genes colocated with wood property QTL; however, these relationships must be verified in future experiments.
- Received November 1, 2002.
- Accepted April 4, 2003.
- Copyright © 2003 by the Genetics Society of America