iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry


Impact of inbreeding on growth and development of young open-pollinated progeny of Eucalyptus globulus

João Faia (1), Joana Costa (2), José Araújo (2), Nuno Borralho (2), Cristina Marques (2), Helena Trindade (1-3)   

iForest - Biogeosciences and Forestry, Volume 15, Issue 5, Pages 356-362 (2022)
doi: https://doi.org/10.3832/ifor4012-015
Published: Sep 20, 2022 - Copyright © 2022 SISEF

Research Articles

The use of open-pollinated seeds from seed orchards is a common strategy for the deployment of genetically improved eucalypts, including Eucalyptus globulus, an important pulpwood tree in many temperate climate areas. However, seed quality can be affected by the rate of selfing and to a lesser extent by contamination from pollen outside the orchard. Inbreeding between related parents and especially from self-crosses is known to cause diminished growth and developmental abnormalities in the resulting progeny. This study looks at the magnitude and variation in selfing and the impact in inbreeding depression across several E. globulus families collected over the years in a seed orchard. The effects on growth and development of outcrossed and selfed progeny were studied across five progeny trials, after pedigree reconstruction of the open pollinated progeny based on SSR genotyping. An additive genetic mixed linear model was fitted to the data to evaluate the impact of inbreeding on height growth. The results showed a significant inbreeding depression, with a height growth reduction of 15% in selfed progeny, when compared with crosses from unrelated parents. These inbreeding depression values varied among families, ranging between 7% and 24%, evidencing the importance of genetic background. Contamination rates were on average 10% suggesting long distance pollen dispersal was present. A small number of abnormal phenotypes (less than 10%) was observed in the field. This was associated with specific, unrelated, crosses and not to high inbreeding rates such as found among selfed progeny. The relevance of these results for orchard management and parent selection is discussed.


Inbreeding Depression, Seed Orchard, Selfing, Abnormal Phenotypes, SSRs, Pedigree Reconstruction

Authors’ address

João Faia
Helena Trindade 0000-0002-1209-2622
Universidade de Lisboa, Faculdade de Ciências, Departamento de Biologia Vegetal, 1749-016 Lisboa (Portugal)
Joana Costa
José Araújo
Nuno Borralho 0000-0001-5606-7878
Cristina Marques 0000-0003-4630-8652
Raiz, Forest and Paper Research Institute, Quinta de S. Francisco, Apartado 15, 3801-501 Eixo (Portugal)
Helena Trindade 0000-0002-1209-2622
cE3c - Center for Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Change; CHANGE - Global Change and Sustainability Institute - Formerly CESAM, Centro de Estudos do Ambiente e do Mar, Faculdade de Ciências, Lisbon (Portugal)

Corresponding author

Helena Trindade


Faia J, Costa J, Araújo J, Borralho N, Marques C, Trindade H (2022). Impact of inbreeding on growth and development of young open-pollinated progeny of Eucalyptus globulus. iForest 15: 356-362. - doi: 10.3832/ifor4012-015

Academic Editor

Alberto Santini

Paper history

Received: Nov 05, 2021
Accepted: Jul 06, 2022

First online: Sep 20, 2022
Publication Date: Oct 31, 2022
Publication Time: 2.53 months

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