Resistance breeding against nonnative pathogens in forest trees — current successes in North America

Sniezko, R.A. (2006) Resistance breeding against nonnative pathogens in forest trees — current successes in North America. Canadian Journal of Plant Pathology, 28 (-). S270-S279.

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Nonnative invasive pathogens have decimated North American forests for over 100 years, and additional pathogens continue to arrive. These pathogens are destined to be permanent fixtures in the ecosystem. In many cases, management activities have been unsuccessful in slowing the spread of these pathogens or in restoring forests. Genetic resistance potentially provides an invaluable management tool for restoring these species or using them in plantations. Although native tree species are highly susceptible to some nonnative pathogens, a low frequency of resistance is present in even those North American host species most affected. Classical breeding methods can produce genetically diverse and resistant populations for reforestation or restoration of natural forests. However, any operational program for developing resistant populations of forest trees must contend with relatively long generation times, as well as the long-lived nature of trees and the potential of the pathogen to evolve. Western white pine (Pinus monticola), Port- Orford-cedar (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), American chestnut (Castanea dentata), and American elm (Ulmus americana) are examples of species for which there are successful breeding programs for disease resistance. Examples from these species, with a particular focus on western white pine and white pine blister rust [Cronartium ribicola] resistance, will be used to illustrate some of the successes in operational programs, as well as to discuss some of the research needs and current unknowns in developing durable resistance. Some of these programs have been ongoing for 50 years, while the Port-Orford-cedar program began only in the last decade. Resistant seedlings from several programs are now being used in reforestation and restoration.

Item Type: Article
Author Affiliation: USDA Forest Service, Dorena Genetic Resource Center, 34963 Shoreview Road, Cottage Grove, Oregon, 97424, USA
Subjects: Crop Improvement > Plant Breeding
Divisions: General
Depositing User: David T
Date Deposited: 18 Jul 2011 10:10
Last Modified: 18 Jul 2011 10:10

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