Interior Spruce Tree Breeding Program
Interior spruce is the oldest tree improvement program in the British Columbia Interior. It began in the early 1960s with genecology research and provenance testing, before evolving into a large-scale tree breeding program in 1967.
The breeding program is structured in two series:
- Series one began in 1967 with parent tree selection, grafting and wind-pollinated progeny testing in three ecologically and geographically unique regions: Prince George, Prince Rupert (Bulkley Valley) and East Kootenay
- Series two began in the mid-1970s and focussed on the remaining geographic regions where spruce was commercially and ecologically important
Seed Planting Zones
Presently, B.C. is subdivided into six discrete seed planning zones (SPZ) for tree improvement. The major traits selected for improvement include growth (tree height, diameter, volume) and terminal weevil resistance.
The program has progressed to the point where more than two billion improved interior spruce seedlings have been planted in B.C. since 1980. In 2015, 94 percent of the 71.5 million spruce seedlings planted in B.C. came from improved first-generation seed orchards. Compared to average wild-stand seedlings, these improved seedlings are predicted to result in gains of over 20 percent in tree volume at rotation age.
Series one second-generation full-sib progeny tests were established in 1996, 1997 and 1999 for the Prince George, East Kootenay and Bulkley Valley SPZs, respectively. Forward selections have been made in all three seed planning zones.
Current research activities focus on:
- Genecology testing in contrasting environments to facilitate climate-based seed transfer
- Development of terminal weevil resistant genotypes based on nursery screening with laboratory reared weevil populations
- Developing improved phenotyping techniques and genetic markers genomic selection to identify weevil resistant genotypes
- Birol, I., Raymond, A., Jackman, S.D., Pleasance, S., Coope, R., Taylor, G.A., Yuen, M.M., Keeling, C.I., Brand, D., Vandervalk, B.P., Kirk, H., Pandoh, P., Moore, R.A., Zhao, Y., Mungall, A.J., Jaquish, B., Yanchuk, A., Ritland, C., Boyle, B., Bousquet, J., Ritland, K., Mackay, J., Bohlmann, J. and Jones, S.J. 2013. Assembling the 20 Gb white spruce (Picea glauca) genome from whole-genome shotgun sequencing data. Bioinformatics 29, 1492-1497.
- Warren, R., Keeling, C, Yuen, M., Raymond, A., Taylor, G., Vandervalk, B., Mohamadi, H., Paulino, D., Chiu, R., Jackman, S., Robertson, G., Yang, C., Hoffmann, M., Weigel, D., Ritland, C., Isabel, N., Jaquish, B., Yanchuk, A., Bousquet, J., Jones, S., Nelson, D., Mackay, J., Birol, I. and Bohlmann, J. 2015. Improved white spruce (Picea glauca) genome assemblies and annotation of large gene families of conifer terpenoid and phenolic defense metabolism. The Plant Journal. Vol 83 (2): pp 189-212.
- Yousry El-Kassaby, Blaise Ratcliffe, Omnia Gamal El-Dien, Jaroslav Klapste, Ilga Porth, Charles Chen, and Barry Jaquish. 2015. A comparison of genomic selection models across time in Interior Spruce (Picea engelmannii x glauca) using unordered SNP imputation methods. Heredity. Accepted.
- O’Neill, G.A., M. Stoehr and B. Jaquish. 2014. Quantifying safe seed transfer distance and impacts of tree breeding on adaptation. Forest Ecology and Management. 328 (2014) 122–130.
- Amanda De La Torre, Tongli Wang, Barry Jaquish and Sally N. Aitken. 2013. Adaptation and exogenous selection in a Picea glauca x P. engelmannii hybrid zone: Implications for forest management under climate change. New Phytologist.
- Ledig, FT, GE Rehfeldt and BC Jaquish. 2012. Projections of suitable habitat under climate change scenarios: Implications for trans-boundary assisted colonization. American J. Bot. 99(7): 1–14. 2012.
- Porth I, White R, Jaquish B, Alfaro R, Ritland C, Ritland K. 2012. Genetical Genomics Identifies the Genetic Architecture for Growth and Weevil Resistance in Spruce. PLoS ONE 7(9): e44397.
- Xiao-Xin Wei, Jean Beaulieu, Damase P. Khasa, Jesús Vargas-Hernández, Javier López-Upton, Barry Jaquish, Jean Bousquet. 2011. Range-wide chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA imprints reveal multiple lineages and complex biogeographic history for Douglas-fir. Tree Genetics and Genomes.
- Nicholas Ukrainetz, G. A. O’Neill and B. Jaquish. 2011. Comparison of fixed and focal point seed transfer systems for reforestation and assisted migration: a case study for interior spruce in British Columbia. Can. J. For. Res. 41(7) 1452-1464.
- Verne S., B. Jaquish, R. White, C. Ritland and K. Ritland. 2011. Global transcriptome analysis of constitutive resistance to the white pine weevil in spruce. Genome Biology and Evolution.