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PLoS One. 2016 Jun 16;11(6):e0157646. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157646. eCollection 2016.

Simple Genetic Distance-Optimized Field Deployments for Clonal Seed Orchards Based on Microsatellite Markers: As a Case of Chinese Pine Seed Orchard.

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National Engineering Laboratory for Forest Tree Breeding, Key Laboratory for Genetics and Breeding of Forest Trees and Ornamental Plants of Ministry of Education, College of Biological Sciences and Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing, China.
Department of Forest and Conservation Sciences, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.


Chinese pine seed orchards are in a period of transition from first-generation to advanced-generations. How to effectively select populations for second-generation seed orchards and significantly increase genetic gain through rational deployment have become major issues. In this study, we examined open- and control-pollinated progeny of the first-generation Chinese pine seed orchards in Zhengning (Gansu Province, China) and Xixian (Shanxi Province, China) to address issues related to phenotypic selection for high volume growth, genetic diversity analysis and genetic distance-based phylogenetic analysis of the selections by simple sequence repeats (SSRs), and phylogenetic relationship-based field deployment for advanced-generation orchards. In total, 40, 28, 20, and 13 superior individuals were selected from the large-scale no-pedigree open-pollinated progeny of Zhengning (ZN-NP), open-pollinated families of Zhengning (ZN-OP), open-pollinated families of Xixian (XX-OP), and control-pollinated families of Xixian, with mean volume dominance ratios of 0.83, 0.15, 0.25, and 0.20, respectively. Phylogenetic relationship analysis of the ZN-NP and XX-OP populations showed that the 40 superior individuals in the ZN-NP selected population belonged to 23 families and could be further divided into five phylogenetic groups, and that families in the same group were closely related. Similarly, 20 families in the XX-OP population were related to varying degrees. Based on these results, we found that second-generation Chinese pine seed orchards in Zhengning and Xixian should adopt a grouped, unbalanced, complete, fixed block design and an unbalanced, incomplete, fixed block design, respectively. This study will provide practical references for applying molecular markers to establishing advanced-generation seed orchards.

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