The magnitude of fitness effects at genetic loci causing inbreeding depression at various life stages has been an important question in plant evolution. We used genetic mapping in a selfed family of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) to gain insights on inbreeding depression for early growth and viability. Two quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were identified that explain much of the phenotypic variation in height growth through age 3 and may account for more than 13% inbreeding depression in this family. One of these QTLs maps to the location of cad-n1, a lignin biosynthesis mutation. Both QTLs show evidence of overdominance, although evidence for true versus pseudo-overdominance is inconclusive. Evidence of directional dominance for height growth was noted throughout the genome, suggesting that additional loci may contribute to inbreeding depression. A chlorophyll-deficiency mutation, spf, did not appear to be associated with growth effects, but had significant effects on survival through age 3. Previously identified embryonic viability loci had little or no overall effect on germination, survival, or growth. Our results challenge, at least in part, the prevailing hypothesis that inbreeding depression for growth is due to alleles of small effect. However, our data support predictions that loci affecting inbreeding depression are largely stage specific.
Corresponding Editor: O. Savolainen