Canadian Forest Service Publications

Metadata analysis indicates biased estimation of genetic parameters and gains using conventional pedigree information instead of genomic-based approaches in tree breeding. 2022. Beaulieu, J., Lenz, P. & Bousquet, J.; Nature: Scientific Reports, 12, 3933.

Year: 2022

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 40629

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-022-06681-y

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Forest tree improvement helps provide adapted planting stock to ensure growth productivity, fibre quality and carbon sequestration through reforestation and aforestation activities. However, there is increasing doubt that conventional pedigree provides the most accurate estimates for selection and prediction of performance of improved planting stock. When the additive genetic relationships among relatives is estimated using pedigree information, it is not possible to take account of Mendelian sampling due to the random segregation of parental alleles. The use of DNA markers distributed genome-wide (multi-locus genotypes) makes it possible to estimate the realized additive genomic relationships, which takes account of the Mendelian sampling and possible pedigree errors. We reviewed a series of papers on conifer and broadleaf tree species in which both pedigree-based and marker-based estimates of genetic parameters have been reported. Using metadata analyses, we show that for heritability and genetic gains, the estimates obtained using only the pedigree information are generally biased upward compared to those obtained using DNA markers distributed genome-wide, and that genotype-by-environment (GxE) interaction can be underestimated for low to moderate heritability traits. As high-throughput genotyping becomes economically afordable, we recommend expanding the use of genomic selection to obtain more accurate estimates of genetic parameters and gains.