Sitka spruced

Summary

MATURE SITKA SPRUCE PLANTED IN 1924. RITUAL GROVE. GLENBRANTER FOREST. COWAL FDThis project aims to increase the economic value of future Sitka spruce plantations substantially by using new breeding techniques to select outstanding rare individuals combining high growth rate with good timber qualities. Selection will be made at a very early age based on DNA markers found to be well correlated with later rotation performance.

Research objectives

  • Development of ‘Genomic Selection’ in Sitka spruce
  • Development of DNA markers
  • Early selection for growth rate and timber stiffness based on markers well correlated with later field performance
  • Reduction of rotation lengths
  • Increasing timber quality
  • Massive increase in the economic benefits of growing Sitka spruce in Britain
  • Shortening the time between selection in the lab based on the new DNA markers and delivery to the field of improved material.

Results so far

No results at the moment.

The first task is to associate DNA markers with certain tree characteristics measured in the field. Two existing 22-year-old field trials have been identified as perfect for this job; one in Brecon Forest and a sister experiment involving the same parents and families replicated in Kintyre Forest.

Status

Contract starts 1st July 2017 which is when the first trees will be felled in Wales, with the co-operation of Natural Resources Wales. The Kintyre site will follow in autumn. A total of 1,200 trees will be measured in detailed with samples returned to Northern Research Station for detailed analysis in early 2018. Association between DNA markers and phenotypic characteristics will be carried out by Oxford University. Roslin Institute will estimate the breeding value of trees based solely on the DNA markers.

The contract will last 3-years.

Contact

Dr Steve Lee

Funders and partners

Partners are:

Professor John MacKay from Oxford University

Professor John Woolliams from Roslin Institute

Forest Research colleagues are:

Dr Paul Mclean

Drs Joan Cottrell and Stuart A’Hara

Sources of funding are:

BBSRC

Forestry Commission

Sources within the Forest Industry

Related publications

Fuentes-UtrillaP, Goswami C, Cottrell JE, Pong-Wong R, Law A, A’Hara S, Lee SJ, and Woolliams JA (2017). QTL analysis and genomic selection using RADseq derived markers in Sitka spruce: the potential utility of within family data. Tree Genetics and Genomes, 13:33. doi: 10.1007/s11295-017-1118-z .