Creating a somatic embryogenic system to study resistance traits to the white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi Peck.) in Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr).




Prior, Natalie Annastasia

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A somatic embryogenic system was created using material from the British Columbia Ministry of Forests and Range’s Sitka Spruce (Picea sitchensis (Bong.) Carr) breeding program for resistance to the white pine weevil (Pissodes strobi Peck.). The goal was to provide a system that could aid in understanding the phenotypic and genotypic variation that exists in these traits. Embryogenic lines were derived from controlled crosses of parental genotypes previously ranked for the abundance of three physical bark traits: sclereid cells, constitutive resin canals and traumatic resin canals. The number of filled seeds per cone from controlled pollinations was low, with a mean of 9.4 ± 6.8 (mean ± SD), compared to open-pollinated material, which had greater than 40 seeds per cone. The mean induction rate (to embryogenic cultures) was 7 %, ranging from 0 % to 56 % by cross. Of 135 genotypes, 88.1 % produced mature embryos. The number of embryos produced varied by culture. Nearly all (44 of 45) genotypes germinated, with a mean germination rate of 80 %. The overall conversion rate of somatic embryos to plants was 5.5 %. A novel method of cryopreservation that used a temperature pretreatment but did not require dimethyl sulfoxide was tested. Embryogenic cultures were recovered from 31 % of genotypes (n = 112). Genotypic and phenotypic variation were observed during each stage of the somatic embryogenic process. This project demonstrated that somatic embryogenesis and cryopreservation can be used to create a system to study phenotypic and genotypic variation in Sitka spruce.



White pine weevil, sitka spruce, diseases and pests, British Columbia