Association genetics of oleoresin flow in loblolly pine: discovering genes and predicting phenotype for improved resistance to bark beetles and bioenergy potential


Author for correspondence:

John M. Davis

Tel: +1 352 846 0879



  • Rapidly enhancing oleoresin production in conifer stems through genomic selection and genetic engineering may increase resistance to bark beetles and terpenoid yield for liquid biofuels.
  • We integrated association genetic and genomic prediction analyses of oleoresin flow (g 24 h−1) using 4854 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in expressed genes within a pedigreed population of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) that was clonally replicated at three sites in the southeastern United States.
  • Additive genetic variation in oleoresin flow (h2 ≈ 0.12–0.30) was strongly correlated between years in which precipitation varied (ra ≈ 0.95), while the genetic correlation between sites declined from 0.8 to 0.37 with increasing differences in soil and climate among sites. A total of 231 SNPs were significantly associated with oleoresin flow, of which 81% were specific to individual sites. SNPs in sequences similar to ethylene signaling proteins, ABC transporters, and diterpenoid hydroxylases were associated with oleoresin flow across sites.
  • Despite this complex genetic architecture, we developed a genomic prediction model to accelerate breeding for enhanced oleoresin flow that is robust to environmental variation. Results imply that breeding could increase oleoresin flow 1.5- to 2.4-fold in one generation.