Open Access

Genetics of Shrinkage in Juvenile Trees of Pinus radiata D. Don From Two Test Sites in Australia


To examine the genetic control of wood shrinkage (radial, tangential and longitudinal) in juvenile wood of radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don), we assessed samples collected at breast height in two related progeny tests of age 8 and 9 years, established at two different sites in Australia. Green to oven-dry tangential and radial shrinkage for the outer-rings was similar at both sites. Similarly, mean longitudinal shrinkage for the outer-rings was similar at both sites (0.3%, ranging from 0.1 to 1.9 at Flynn and 0.4%, ranging from 0.02 to 1.6, at Kromelite). Mean longitudinal shrinkage for the inner-rings was 4 times greater than that of the outerrings at both sites. The magnitude of the gradient of longitudinal shrinkage from pith to bark (0.001 to 2.9%) is large enough to cause distortion problems including twist and warp, during drying of sawn boards. These values also suggest that shrinkage in the juvenile core of radiata pine is of major economic importance and therefore should be improved either through genetics or silviculture. Individual-tree narrow-sense individual heritability for tangential and radial shrinkage in the outer-rings (4-6) was moderate at Flynn (0.24 ± 0.09 and 0.26±0.07, respectively). There was a lack of significant genetic variation for longitudinal shrinkage in the outer-rings but significant genetic control for the inner-rings (1-2) (h2 = 0.26 ± 0.07). More samples per family are required to detect significant genetic variation for shrinkage traits than other traits due to higher background variation in sampling and measuring shrinkage traits relative to other wood quality traits such as density, microfibril angle (MfA), spiral grain and modulus of elasticity (MoE).

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Biotechnology, Plant Science