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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #365465

Research Project: Evaluation and Genetic Improvement of Woody Ornamental Landscape Plants

Location: Floral and Nursery Plants Research

Title: Discovery of geographically robust hybrid poplar clones

item NELSON, NEIL - University Of Minnesota
item BERGUSON, WILLIAM - University Of Minnesota
item MCMAHON, BERNARD - University Of Minnesota
item MEILAN, RICHARD - Purdue University
item SMART, LAWRENCE - Cornell University
item Gouker, Fred
item BLOESE, PAUL - Michigan State University
item MILLER, RAYMOND - Michigan State University
item VOLK, TIMOTHY - State University Of New York (SUNY)
item CAI, MEIJUN - University Of Minnesota
item BUCHMAN, DANIEL - University Of Minnesota

Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/12/2019
Publication Date: 11/19/2019
Citation: Nelson, N.D., Berguson, W.E., Mcmahon, B.G., Meilan, R., Smart, L.B., Gouker, F.E., Bloese, P., Miller, R., Volk, T.A., Cai, M., Buchman, D. 2019. Discovery of geographically robust hybrid poplar clones. SILVAE GENETICA. 68:101-110.

Interpretive Summary: Hybrid poplars are one of the primary dedicated energy crops needed to meet national targets for bioenergy production in the USA. However, investments in hybrid poplar breeding programs are not aimed at developing individual clones to specific sites. A team of scientists explored the genetic basis of newly improved populations of hybrid poplar trees that are adaptable across a wide range of growing environments and resistant to common pests and diseases. Cooperative studies in Michigan and New York were used to test the growth and adaptability of a common set of newly developed hybrid poplar clones to provide important guidance in the cost-effective deployment of clones to broad geographic regions of the Midwest and Northeast USA. This study revealed that specific clones will likely perform well over a wide geographic area with significant genetic improvement over current commercial clones. Additionally, a cost-effective approach may be to establish a breeding and selection center in Minnesota, with satellite testing of poplar trees from the Minnesota program at strategic sites throughout much of the Midwest and Northeast USA.

Technical Abstract: Hybrid poplar clonal growth in the states (regions) of Minnesota (MN), Indiana (IN), Michigan (MI), and New York (NY) USA was analyzed to discover 10 geographically robust (geo-robust) clones, all P. deltoides x P. nigra (D x N) hybrids previously tested and screened in MN, that were broadly adapted across latitudinal and longitudinal ranges of 9 and 20 degrees, respectively. The clonal effect for growth explained 25 to 36% of the total variance, 2.5–4.1 times the clone x site interaction. Clone explained 24 to 46% of total variation in canker occurrence on two sites. Genetic gain in growth was calculated relative to commercial check clones. Genetic gain in growth of geo-robust clones exceeded that of random clones by 24 to 44%. Geo-robust clones and the best clones on each site were not significantly different on the MN sites, but best clones outperformed geo-robust clones on the other sites by 10 to 39% genetic gain. Geo-robust clones grew faster than commercial check clones on all but the MI site. The reduction in genetic gain for growth due to using broadly adapted clones relative to the best clones has to be compared to the additional costs and benefits of multiple breeding zones.