iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Genetic variation and heritability estimates of Ulmus minor and Ulmus pumila hybrids for budburst, growth and tolerance to Ophiostoma novo-ulmi

Alejandro Solla (1)   , Juan Carlos López-Almansa (2), Juan A Martín (3), Luis Gil (3)

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 8, Issue 4, Pages 422-430 (2014)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor1227-007
Published: Dec 15, 2014 - Copyright © 2014 SISEF

Research Articles

Collection/Special Issue: 3rd International Elm Conference, Florence (Italy - 2013)
The elms after 100 years of Dutch Elm disease
Guest Editors: A. Santini, L. Ghelardini, E. Collin, A. Solla, J. Brunet, M. Faccoli, A. Scala, S. De Vries, J. Buiteveld

Seedlings obtained by crossing Ulmus minor and U. minor × U. pumila clones were assessed for flowering, bark beetle damage, vegetative budburst, height growth and resistance to Ophiostoma novo-ulmi. Ramets and open pollinated seedlings obtained from the parent trees were assessed for the same traits. Most progenies had similar traits to their parents, but some presented heterosis in annual growth or resistance to O. novo-ulmi. Leaf wilting was significantly lower in progenies with U. minor × U. pumila rather than U. minor as female parent (21.5 and 30.6%, respectively; P<0.05). Resistance to O. novo-ulmi increased significantly as a function of increased amounts of U. pumila germplasm from the female parent, suggesting that resistance to Dutch elm disease is primarily transmitted from the mother. Budburst occurred earlier in seedlings with low rather than high growth rates (P=0.0007) and percentage of wilting was negatively related to early budburst (P<0.0001). Other phenotypic relations included percentage of flowering trees and annual height growth (rp=0.44; P=0.0042), percentage of flowering trees and vegetative budburst (rp=-0.53; P=0.0004) and percentage of beetle-affected trees and annual height growth (rp=0.60; P<0.0001). Heritability estimates obtained from the regression and variance components methods ranged from 0.06 ± 0.04 to 0.64 ± 0.18, 0.10 ± 0.05 to 0.69 ± 0.17, and 0.13 ± 0.32 to 0.71 ± 0.22 for budburst, growth and tolerance to O. novo-ulmi, respectively. Broad- and narrow-sense heritability values were higher when estimated 60 days post inoculation (dpi) than 15, 30 or 120 dpi. Heritability estimates and genetic gains reported indicate a high degree of additive genetic control and show the effectiveness of selection for Dutch elm disease resistance and rapid tree growth.


Quantitative Genetics, Tree Breeding, Invasive Pathogen, Inheritance, Additive Genetic Variance, Non-additive Genetic Variance, Heterosis, Genetic Gain

Authors’ address

Alejandro Solla
Ingeniería Forestal y del Medio Natural, Universidad de Extremadura, Avenida Virgen del Puerto 2, E-10600 Plasencia (Spain)
Juan Carlos López-Almansa
Departamento de Desarrollo Sostenible, Universidad Católica de Ávila, Canteros s/n, E-05005 Ávila (Spain)
Juan A Martín
Luis Gil
ETSI Montes, Forestal y del Medio Natural, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Ciudad Universitaria s/n, E-28040 Madrid (Spain)

Corresponding author

Alejandro Solla


Solla A, López-Almansa JC, Martín JA, Gil L (2014). Genetic variation and heritability estimates of Ulmus minor and Ulmus pumila hybrids for budburst, growth and tolerance to Ophiostoma novo-ulmi. iForest 8: 422-430. - doi: 10.3832/ifor1227-007

Academic Editor

Alberto Santini

Paper history

Received: Dec 31, 2013
Accepted: Sep 23, 2014

First online: Dec 15, 2014
Publication Date: Aug 02, 2015
Publication Time: 2.77 months

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