The relative contribution of the male and female to the variation in reproductive success in Eucalyptus globulus
Suitor, S and Potts, BM and McGowen, MH and Pilbeam, DJ and Brown, PH and Gracie, AJ and Gore, PL, The relative contribution of the male and female to the variation in reproductive success in Eucalyptus globulus, Silvae Genetica, 58, (3) pp. 129-138. ISSN 0037-5349 (2009) [Refereed Article]
Low and variable capsule and seed set is a major factor limiting seed production in Eucalyptus globulus seed orchards. This study identified the relative contribution of the maternal and paternal parent to reproductive success in E. globulus, and examined the genetic basis to the observed variation. Reproductive success was measured in terms of the number of viable seeds obtained per flower crossed. Data on the reproductive success of numerous genotypes from the Furneaux, Strzelecki Ranges and Otways races were obtained from: (i) 12 years of operational full-sib crossing; (ii) a designed fullsib diallel mating scheme; and (iii) capsule retention trials conducted over three seasons at two Tasmanian seed orchards on the same ramets of different genotypes. Analysis of the sparse operational data revealed that both male and female factors significantly affected reproductive success, accounting for 5.0% and 7.9% of the variation respectively. The more precise diallel crossing revealed that a large, and significant, proportion 55%, of the variation in reproductive success between crosses at a single site was explained by the female parent. The male parent explained only 6.7%, but this effect was not statistically significant and was related to variation in in vitro pollen germination. The significant female effect was found to be consistent at the genotype level across seasons, sites and pollination techniques suggesting a genetic basis to the variation. It is argued that selection of genetically fecund females is a key consideration in reducing costs of manual pollination for breeding and deployment purposes.