Norway spruce is a boreal forest tree species of significant ecological and economic importance. Hence there is a strong imperative to dissect the genetics underlying important wood quality traits in the species. We performed a functional genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 17 wood traits in Norway spruce using 178 101 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) generated from exome genotyping of 517 mother trees. The wood traits were defined using functional modelling of wood properties across annual growth rings. We applied a Least Absolute Shrinkage and Selection Operator (LASSO-based) association mapping method using a functional multilocus mapping approach that utilizes latent traits, with a stability selection probability method as the hypothesis testing approach to determine a significant quantitative trait locus. The analysis provided 52 significant SNPs from 39 candidate genes, including genes previously implicated in wood formation and tree growth in spruce and other species. Our study represents a multilocus GWAS for complex wood traits in Norway spruce. The results advance our understanding of the genetics influencing wood traits and identifies candidate genes for future functional studies.
Keywords: Norway spruce; candidate genes; functional trait mapping; genome-wide association mapping; sequence capture; single nucleotide polymorphisms.
© 2019 The Authors. The Plant Journal published by Society for Experimental Biology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd.