Vectors of Efficiency in Hybrid Poplar Genotype Testing

Neil D. Nelson, William E. Berguson, Bernard G McMahon, Meijun Cai, Daniel J Buchman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Natural Resources Research Institute Hybrid Poplar Program breeds and tests genetically improved clones for bio-mass production and environmental services. The testing process progresses from Nursery Progeny Tests (NPT) to Family Field Trials (FFT) to Clone Trials (CT) to Yield Blocks (YB), with limited replication of many clones in FFT and CT and a limited number of highly selected clones set out in monoclonal blocks (YB) to approximate the conditions of commercial plantations. We used correlation vectors, R2 (coefficient of determination) and rs (Spearman's Coefficient) for growth (DBH2) and McFadden's Pseudo R2 for canker severity score, to determine where testing times could be altered (age - age correlations) and whole testing steps eliminated. FFT can be shortened from 5 years to 4 years. In CT, rank correlations between age 5 (half-rotation) and age 9/10 (full rotation) were significant (R2 = 0.39 - 0.72), but age 5 selection missed 44 % of the top ten clones at age 9/10. Clone rank in CT at full, but not half, rotation was correlated with rank at full rotation in YB. Choosing clones at 9 years in CT adds 4 years but allows possible elimination of YB for clone selection. Both FFT and CT are necessary. Canker abundance and severity in CT at full rotation cannot be determined at earlier ages. An aggressive strategy saves 6 years of testing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalSilvae Genetica
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Neil D. Nelson et al..


  • Populus
  • age-age correlations
  • clone selection
  • early selection
  • hybrid poplars
  • poplar breeding


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