Use of molecular markers for estimating breeding parameters: a case study in a Pinus pinaster Ait. progeny trial

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The management of a genetic improvement program is based on the knowledge of the genetic parameters and their relationships to determine the genetic gains. Knowledge of the coefficient of coancestry (theta) is a requirement for efficient progeny testing scheme and for estimating additive variance components for any quantitative trait. When using open-pollinated families, most authors assume that the seedlings are related as half-sibs, but this is not always true. Our aim was to estimate a mean value of the coancestry coefficient of the families present in a maritime pine Pinus pinaster Ait. (maritime or cluster pine) progeny trial originating from seed collected in a clonal seed orchard and to study how deviations from the standard assumption of theta = 0.125 affect heritability estimations. Five highly polymorphic microsatellite markers were scored in 125 offspring from a subsample of five families from the progeny trial. The mean value of the coancestry coefficient of the families present in this progeny trial was 0.130. Differences between the unadjusted and adjusted heritability estimates were more pronounced in wood density (0.609 and 0.586, respectively) than in diameter (0.166 and 0.154, respectively). We conclude that in the trial, the associated error in heritability estimates due to the inclusion of full-sibs, when assuming a standard coefficient of relationship among open-pollinated sibs of 0.250, was low and that this result is robust with respect to the number of families sampled, given unbiased estimates of average relationship among offspring within sib families.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)609-616
JournalTree Genetics & Genomes
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009

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