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Pollen flow and paternity in an isolated and non-isolated black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) timber seed orchard

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Artificial pollination of black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) is not practical and timber breeders have historically utilized only open-pollinated half-sib families. An alternate approach called "breeding without breeding," consists of genotyping open-pollinated progeny using DNA markers to identify paternal parents and then constructing full-sib families. In 2014, we used 12 SSR markers to genotype 884 open-pollinated half-sib progeny harvested from two clonal orchards containing 206 trees, comprised of 52 elite timber selections. Seed was harvested in 2011 from each of two ramets of 23 clones, one upwind and one downwind, based on prevailing wind direction from the west—southwest. One orchard was isolated from wild black walnut and composed of forward selections while the other orchard was adjacent to a natural forest containing mature black walnut composed of backward selections. Isolation significantly increased within-orchard pollination (85%) of the progeny from the isolated orchard compared to 42% from the non-isolated orchard. Neither prevailing wind direction nor seed tree position in the orchard affected paternity patterns or wild pollen contamination. Genetic diversity indices revealed that progeny from both orchards were in Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium with very little inbreeding and no selfing. A significant level of inbreeding was present among the forward selected parents, but not the first generation (backward selected) parents. Some orchard clones failed to sire any progeny while other clones pollinated upwards of 20% of progeny.


Ebrahimi, Aziz; Lawson, Shaneka S.; Frank, Graham S.; Coggeshall, Mark V.; Woeste, Keith E.; McKenna, James R. 2018. Pollen flow and paternity in an isolated and non-isolated black walnut (Juglans nigra L.) timber seed orchard. PLOS ONE. 13(12): e0207861-.

Last updated on: December 7, 2018