Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Age-related trends in genetic parameters for Larix kaempferi and their implications for early selection.

Abstract

Background: Japanese larch (Larix kaempferi) has been introduced in China at the end of the 19th century, and as one successful exotic species, is becoming the preferred coniferous in northern China and sub-tropical alpine region. The rotation age is about 25-28 years for L. kaempferi as pulpwood in Henan province. Waiting for even one-half rotation age for final evaluation will be inefficient due to accumulated testing costs and delayed return on investment, which suggests that selection at an early age is highly desirable for L. kaempferi improvement programs in Henan province. In this study, we determined age trends of genetic parameters and evaluated early selection efficiency for L. kaempferi in Henan province to find out the appropriate trait for early selection and its selection age. Results: Growth traits of 78 clones were measured periodically from age 2 to age 15 in a clonal trial of Larix kaempferi established at Son town, Henan Province. The genetic variation among clones, age-age correlations, and age trends in genetic parameters for growth traits were analyzed. Variant analysis revealed that tree height (HGT) and diameter at breast (DBH) were significant (1% level) among clones at every ages. The clonal repeatability of growth traits varied year-by-year, reaching the highest levels at different ages for different traits (0.77 at age 2 for HGT, 0.70 at age 5 for DBH and 0.66 from age 8 to age 10 for volume, respectively). The age-age genetic correlations ranged from 0.904 to 1.000 for HGT, and from 0943 to 1.000 for DBH. DBH at different ages was more genetically correlated to volume-15 than HGT. At the phenotypic level, HGT was always less correlated to volume-15 than DBH. With the estimates of efficiencies of early selection, the recommendation from present study was that the optimum age of early selection was age 2 for HGT and age 5 for DBH. Conclusions: Our study showed that there were significant (1% level) on growth traits among clones at every ages. The genetic parameters for growth traits varied from age to age. We found dual trait selection was more efficient than single trait selection for early selection.