Pollen contamination is detrimental to the genetic quality of seed orchard crops. Highly variable simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers make it possible to accurately measure pollen contamination and characterize patterns of within-orchard mating by directly identifying the male and female parent of each seed produced in the orchard. We used nine SSR markers to measure pollen contamination and characterize mating patterns based on seed samples collected in 3 years (1999, 2000, and 2003) from one block of a nonisolated, open-pollinated, clonal seed orchard of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) in western Oregon. Pollen contamination was consistently high across the 3 years (mean = 35.3%, range = 31.0%-41.3%) and appeared to result primarily from cross-pollination among the orchard blocks. Levels of pollen contamination varied substantially among clones and were higher in clones with early female receptivity (mean = 55.5%) than in those with either mid (mean = 36.4%) or late (mean = 28.3%) female receptivity. We detected low rates of self-pollination (mean = 1.8% per clone) and over 10-fold differences in the relative paternal contributions of the clones. There was a clear pattern of positive assortative mating with respect to floral phenology. This study illustrates that SSR markers are powerful tools for characterizing seed lots and improving the design and management of Douglas-fir seed orchards.
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Canadian Journal of Forest Research|
|Publication status||Published - Jul 2005|