New Zealand’s specialist supplier of elite radiata pine genetics, the Radiata Pine Breeding Company (RPBC), can now confidently begin implementing genomic selection into their breeding programme, thanks to new methods performed by Scion.

With over 10,000 trees genotyped, Scion and the RPBC have the data required to assess how effective genomic selection will be for radiata pine – a first for any forest tree species.

Scion researchers found that it is possible to predict tree diameter and wood density using only the marker information.

Predictions were even possible for different types of radiata pine found in the breeding programme.

Mark Paget, RPBC Tree Improvement Manager, says, “The next steps for the RPBC is to implement operational genomic selection in the breeding programme to increase the rate of genetic gain for key growth, disease and wood property traits.”

Researchers also found that using marker technology to build marker-based pedigrees for the trees, greatly improved results from their analyses. In one set of elite radiata pine trials, for example, using this technology doubled the ability to predict tree diameter.

These methods were possible thanks to investment from the Radiata Pine Breeding Company and Scion into our joint genomics programme. The enormous data set of genomic and phenotypic information allowed genomic selection to be assessed directly and realistically.


Funders: Radiata Pine Breeding Company, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment