Association genetics of growth and adaptive traits in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) using whole-exome-discovered polymorphisms Academic Article uri icon


  • 2017, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. In the USA, forest genetics research began over 100years ago and loblolly pine breeding programs were established in the 1950s. However, the genetics underlying complex traits of loblolly pine remains to be discovered. To address this, adaptive and growth traits were measured and analyzed in a clonally tested loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) population. Over 2.8 million single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers detected from exome sequencing were used to test for single-locus associations, SNP-SNP interactions, and correlation of individual heterozygosity with phenotypic traits. A total of 36 SNP-trait associations were found for specific leaf area (5 SNPs), branch angle (2), crown width (3), stem diameter (4), total height (9), carbon isotope discrimination (4), nitrogen concentration (2), and pitch canker resistance traits (7). Eleven SNP-SNP interactions were found to be associated with branch angle (1 SNP-SNP interaction), crown width (2), total height (2), carbon isotope discrimination (2), nitrogen concentration (1), and pitch canker resistance (3). Non-additive effects imposed by dominance and epistasis account for a large fraction of the genetic variance for the quantitative traits. Genes that contain the identified SNPs have a wide spectrum of functions. Individual heterozygosity positively correlated with water use efficiency and nitrogen concentration. In conclusion, multiple effects identified in this study influence the performance of loblolly pines, provide resources for understanding the genetic control of complex traits, and have potential value for assisting breeding through marker-assisted selection and genomic selection.

published proceedings


altmetric score

  • 0.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Lu, M., Krutovsky, K. V., Nelson, C. D., West, J. B., Reilly, N. A., & Loopstra, C. A.

citation count

  • 32

complete list of authors

  • Lu, Mengmeng||Krutovsky, Konstantin V||Nelson, C Dana||West, Jason B||Reilly, Nathalie A||Loopstra, Carol A

publication date

  • June 2017