Canadian Forest Service Publications
Genetic resistance to white pine blister rust in limber pine (Pinus flexilis): major gene resistance in a northern population. 2016. Sniezko, R.A.; Danchok, R.; Savin, D.P.; Liu, J.J.; Kegley, A. Canadian Journal of Forest Research. 46: 1173-1178.
Issued by: Pacific Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 37190
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Limber pine, Pinus flexilis E. James, a wide-ranging tree species in western North America, is highly susceptible to white pine blister rust (WPBR), caused by the non-native fungal pathogen Cronartium ribicola J.C. Fisch. The Canadian populations in particular have been heavily impacted, and in 2014, limber pine was designated endangered in Canada by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC). Little is known about genetic resistance to WPBR in limber pine, but major gene resistance (MGR) has been characterized in some populations in the United States. This study examines resistance in seedling families from 13 parent trees from British Columbia, Alberta, and Oregon, representing the northern- and northwestern-most populations. Most families were susceptible, with 100% of the seedlings cankered, but one family from Alberta segregated 1:1 for cankered and canker free. This is the first report of (a) MGR in Canada of any of the four species of five-needle pines native to Canada and (b) any resistance in limber pine in Canadian populations and is the northernmost known incidence of putative R-gene resistance in a natural stand of any five-needle pine species. Many of the Canadian selections were from stands with high incidence of WPBR infection, and their high susceptibility in this trial suggests that further infection and mortality is likely in the Canadian populations.
Plain Language Summary
The Canadian populations of limber pine in particular have been heavily impacted by blister rust, caused by the non-native fungal pathogen Cronartium ribicola. In 2014 limber pine was designated Endangered by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada. Currently we almost know nothing about limber pine resistance to pathogens in Canadian populations, but major gene resistance (MGR) has been characterized in some populations in Colorado and Wyoming. In this study we examined resistance in 13 seedling families from British Columbia, Alberta and Oregon. Most families showed 100 percent cankering, but one family from Alberta segregated 1:1 for cankered and canker-free seedlings. This is the first report of MGR in Canada of any of the four species (western white pine, eastern white pine, whitebark pine, and limber pine) of five-needle pines native to Canada. Many of the Canadian selections were from stands with very high levels of blister rust infection and mortality, and their high susceptibility in this trial suggests that even further infection and mortality is likely in the Canadian populations. This novel resistance stock would be highly valuable for breeding of limber pine with both well local adaptation and rust-resistance.