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The overall objective of this project is to increase the quality of Southern pines by means of:

production of genetically improved reproductive material and development of breeding techniques;
development of planning tools for sylvicultural management;
analysis of the relation between growth conditions and wood characteristics and properties.
Genetics and breeding of Pinus pinaster includes characterisation of natural populations and molecular labelling; shortening of the breeding cycle, looking for early selection criteria and early and massive flowering induction; the development of breeding strategies at intraracial and interracial levels and the evaluation resistance to Matsococus.

The genetics and breeding of P nigra aims at the micropropagation for mass production of high yielding and resistance to pests. Specific objectives are the regeneration of plants by organogenesis; the biochemical characterisation of maturation and juvenility stages in order to rejuvenate plants; the insertion and expression in P nigra of B thuringensis gene for the synthesis of proteins against Thaumatopoea.

Growth models have been extended to evaluate P pinaster and P radiata. The analysis and determination of some wood characteristics, like specific gravity, branching and knots, compression wood, resin pockets, in P pinaster in relation to possible determining factors are the third general goal of the project.
The project will cover three species of major importance in Southern Europe: Pinus nigra; Pinus pinaster and Pinus radiata. The different research tasks are grouped around the following themes:

genetics and breeding;
yield and growth models;
wood characteristics.

The specific scientific tasks of the project are as follows.

Genetics and breeding of Pinus pinaster.
Shortening of the breeding cycle and variable outputs. This goal will be reached by two complementary approaches:

finding early selection criteria for growth, drought tolerance and frost resistance;
early and massive flowering induction.

Characterization and molecular labelling of populations through:

characterization of natural populations;
molecular labelling of improved varieties.

Development of breeding strategies through:

intra-racial breeding;
inter-racial breeding.

Genetics and breeding of Pinus nigra .

The general goal is the micropropagation of Pinus nigra for mass production of high yielding and pest resistant trees.

The specific tasks involved are:

the regeneration of plants by direct and indirect morphogenesis;
the rejuvenation and recovery of transient juvenile capacities from mature stages;
the insertion and expression in Pinus nigra of the Bacillus thuringiensis gene for the synthesis of proteins against Thaumetopoea pityocampa.

Growth models.

The objectives are to extend the existing growth model for Pinus pinaster, with a view to solving the following problems registered for this species:

adaption to intensive sylviculture;
forecast at the regional level in order to determine wood resources for industry;

to characterize growth behaviour of various genotypes; the new varieties could be sprinter stands or stayer stands;
to explain the outputs of the existing stand model;
to carry out research at the individual tree level in order to explain stand and tree structure, and functioning as related to wood quality;
similar research will be conducted on Pinus pinaster in Portugal and Pinus radiata in Spain, at stand levels.

Wood characteristics.

The objective is to identify and describe the existing defects (branches and knots, reaction wood, resin pockets), in relation to the possible determining factors (types of site, soil and wind conditions, sylvicultural practices). This information will be introduced into quantitative models able to predict the industrial and economic consequences of the previous analysis.


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Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)
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