The project aims to develop genomic resources that will facilitate the application of Genomic Selection (GS) for increased selection intensity and reduced breeding cycle times in the BC western redcedar (Cw) improvement program. Target traits in this project include resistance to deer browse, leaf blight and heartwood rot, as well as increased volume and growth.
The main objective of this project is to use GS in the F1 breeding population of western redcedar (commonly referred to as Cw by the forestry community) to calculate Genomic Estimated Breeding Values (GEBV) for commercially important target traits. The project aims to: sequence the transcriptomes of a subset of the original Cw parents, and perform phenotyping of the progeny and clones to be used in the training/validation populations.
This project will require further funding phases to reach the goal of applying GS to the western redcedar breeding population. Future seedlots have the potential to deliver volume gain, as well as adaptable and durable trees, with cross-resistance to multiple pests including heartwood rot fungi, ungulate browsing, and foliar blights. These elite populations have the potential to improve the health of our future forests in the face of changing climates and increased pest pressures, a critical service to British Columbians. Economically, these populations will impact the bottom line for BCs forest industry due to decreased regeneration costs and earlier harvesting of trees that can be used for durable outdoor products.