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Direct and correlated responses to artificial selection for growth and water-use efficiency in a Mediterranean pine.

American journal of botany (2021-01-30)
Estefanía Suárez-Vidal, Luis Sampedro, Jose Climent, Jordi Voltas, Ester Sin, Eduardo Notivol, Rafael Zas
ABSTRACT

Persistence of tree populations in the face of global change relies on their capacity to respond to biotic and abiotic stressors through plastic or adaptive changes. Genetic adaptation will depend on the additive genetic variation within populations and the heritability of traits related to stress tolerance. Because traits can be genetically linked, selective pressure acting on one trait may lead to correlated responses in other traits. To test direct and correlated responses to selection for growth and drought tolerance in Pinus halepensis, we selected trees in a parental population for higher growth and greater water-use efficiency (WUE) and compared their offspring with the offspring of random trees from the parental population in two contrasting common gardens. We estimated direct responses to selection for growth and WUE and correlated responses for growth and tolerance to abiotic and biotic stressors. We found a strong response to selection and high realized heritability for WUE, but no response to selection for growth. Correlated responses to selection in other life-history traits were not significant, except for concentration of some chemical defenses, which was greater in the offspring of mother trees selected for growth than in the offspring of unselected control trees. The empirical evidence of direct responses to selection for high WUE suggests that P. halepensis has the potential to evolve in response to increasing drought stress. Contrary to expectations, the results are not conclusive of a potential negative impact of WUE and growth selection on other key life-history traits.

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Sigma-Aldrich
Dehydroabietic acid, ≥95% (LC/MS-ELSD)