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Heredity (Edinb). 2011 Aug;107(2):105-14. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2010.168. Epub 2011 Jan 19.

Association genetics of carbon isotope discrimination, height and foliar nitrogen in a natural population of Pinus taeda L.

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Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695-8002, USA.


Loblolly pine, Pinus taeda L., is one of the most widely planted, commercially and ecologically important tree species in North America. We took an association genetics approach, using an unimproved population of 380 clonally replicated unrelated trees, to test 3,938 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in as many genes for association with phenotypic variation in carbon isotope discrimination, foliar nitrogen concentration and total tree height after two growing seasons. Best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP) was used with a spatial adjustment to remove environmental variation from phenotypic data derived from a common garden experiment. After correction for multiple testing, a total of 14 SNPs were associated with the traits of carbon isotope discrimination (n = 7), height (n = 1) and foliar nitrogen concentration (n = 6) using 380 clones. Tails of the population phenotypic distribution were compared for allele frequency differences, revealing 10 SNPs with allele frequency in at least one tail significantly different from the overall population. Eight associated SNPs were in sequences similar to known genes, such as an AP2 transcription factor related to carbon isotope discrimination and glutamate decarboxylase associated with foliar nitrogen concentration, and others were from unknown genes without homologs in Arabidopsis.

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