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Flowering phenology in a Eucalyptus loxophleba seed orchard, heritability and genetic correlation with biomass production and cineole: breeding strategy implications

Authors
  • Spencer, Beren1, 2
  • Mazanec, Richard2
  • Abadi, Amir1
  • Gibberd, Mark1
  • Zerihun, Ayalsew1
  • 1 Curtin University, Perth, WA, 6845, Australia , Perth (Australia)
  • 2 Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, Kensington, WA, 6151, Australia , Kensington (Australia)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Scientific Reports
Publisher
Springer Nature
Publication Date
Sep 17, 2020
Volume
10
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-72346-3
Source
Springer Nature
License
Green

Abstract

Reproductive synchronicity within a seed orchard facilitates gene exchange and reduces self-fertilisation. Here we assessed key flowering traits, biomass and foliar 1,8-cineole concentrations of Eucalyptus loxophleba (subsp. lissophloia and gratiae) in an open-pollinated seed orchard. Monthly flowering observations were made on 1142 trees from 60 families and nine provenances across 2 years. The percentage of trees flowering in both years was similar at 87%. There were differences between provenances and families within provenances for flowering traits, biomass and 1,8-cineole and interactions between provenances and year for flowering traits. Heritability of start and end flowering, and 1,8-cineole were high to moderate (h^2\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\hat{h}^{2}$$\end{document} = 0.75–0.45) and duration of flowering, propensity to flower and biomass estimates were moderate to low (h^2\documentclass[12pt]{minimal} \usepackage{amsmath} \usepackage{wasysym} \usepackage{amsfonts} \usepackage{amssymb} \usepackage{amsbsy} \usepackage{mathrsfs} \usepackage{upgreek} \setlength{\oddsidemargin}{-69pt} \begin{document}$$\hat{h}^{2}$$\end{document} = 0.31–0.10). Genetic and phenotypic correlations between flowering traits were high (rg = 0.96–0.63 and rp = 0.93–0.34) except between duration and end of flowering. The correlations were weaker between flowering traits and biomass or 1,8-cineole. ‘Dual flowering’, when trees underwent two reproductive cycles in a year, was responsible for out-of-phase flowering and those with low biomass and 1,8-cineole concentration should be removed from the breeding programme to hasten selection for desirable traits.

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