Best Map Yet of the Pine Genome
Over one billion loblolly pine seedlings are planted each year in 32 million acres of plantations that extend from Eastern Texas to Delaware. The growth performance of many of these seedlings benefits from tree improvement and breeding programs. New genomic methods are revolutionizing approaches to tree improvement and have the potential to accelerate the breeding cycle of loblolly pine from the current 12-20 years to less than seven years. To accomplish this, a high-density genetic map may be used to design low-density panels of markers that reduce genotyping costs without large sacrifices in prediction accuracy. Forest Service scientists and their research partners at several universities constructed a genetic linkage map of nearly 5,000 genes in over 1,200 loblolly pine trees by a novel merging the information from four existing maps. This high-density genome map provides an important new resource for the conifer genetics community allowing for powerful comparative analyses of genome-wide genetic properties between individual trees, populations, and species. The enhanced understanding will promote progress on developing DNA-based methods for improvement of loblolly pine and other important pine species world-wide.
Forest Service Partners