Non-additive genetic effects can be effectively exploited in control-pollinated families with the availability of genome-wide markers. We used 41,304 SNP markers and compared pedigree vs. marker-based genetic models by analysing height, diameter, basic density and pulp yield for Eucalyptus urophylla × E.grandis control-pollinated families represented by 949 informative individuals. We evaluated models accounting for additive, dominance, and first-order epistatic interactions (additive by additive, dominance by dominance, and additive by dominance). We showed that the models can capture a large proportion of the genetic variance from dominance and epistasis for growth traits as those components are typically not independent. We also showed that we could partition genetic variances more precisely when using relationship matrices derived from markers compared to using only pedigree information. In addition, phenotypic prediction accuracies were only slightly increased by including dominance effects for growth traits since estimates of non-additive variances yielded rather high standard errors. This novel result improves our current understanding of the architecture of quantitative traits and recommends accounting for dominance variance when developing genomic selection strategies in hybrid Eucalyptus.
Keywords: Breeding strategy; Dominance; Epistasis; Heritability; Predictive ability.
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