Whole-genome characterization of embryonic stage inbreeding depression in a selfed loblolly pine family

Genetics. 2000 May;155(1):337-48. doi: 10.1093/genetics/155.1.337.


Inbreeding depression is important in the evolution of plant populations and mating systems. Previous studies have suggested that early-acting inbreeding depression in plants is primarily due to lethal alleles and possibly epistatic interactions. Recent advances in molecular markers now make genetic mapping a powerful tool to study the genetic architecture of inbreeding depression. We describe a genome-wide evaluation of embryonic viability loci in a selfed family of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.), using data from AFLP markers from an essentially complete genome map. Locus positions and effects were estimated from segregation ratios using a maximum-likelihood interval mapping procedure. We identified 19 loci showing moderately deleterious to lethal embryonic effects. These loci account for >13 lethal equivalents, greater than the average of 8.5 lethal equivalents reported for loblolly pine. Viability alleles show predominantly recessive action, although potential overdominance occurs at 3 loci. We found no evidence for epistasis in the distribution of pairwise marker correlations or in the regression of fitness on the number of markers linked to deleterious alleles. The predominant role of semilethal alleles in embryonic inbreeding depression has implications for the evolution of isolated populations and for genetic conservation and breeding programs in conifers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Epistasis, Genetic
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genetic Markers
  • Genome, Plant*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Pinus taeda


  • Genetic Markers