The Sitka Spruced project aims to create novel capacity to increase the rates of genetic gain in the UK’s breeding programme. Selective breeding is effective for increasing yields in Sitka spruce but it takes 30 years to select and propagate improved planting stock. Sitka Spruced will develop Genomic Selection methods aiming to shorten the breeding process and increase the rate of yield gains more than two-fold. The proposed research will develop large-scale genotyping capacity, a genetic linkage map for Sitka spruce, and large training set for predictive genomics model development. We will use this platform to investigate issues of genomic prediction accuracy, models for both yield and wood quality traits, genotype imputation, resistance to damaging insects.
Sitka Spruced is a collaboration of the University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh (Roslin Institute) and Forest Research (an Agency of the Forestry Commission). It is funded by BBSRC and a group of forest and wood processing industries.
The industrial partners for Sitka Spruced are BSW Timber Ltd., Maelor Forest Nurseries Ltd., Forestart Ltd., The Sitka Spruce Breeding Cooperative Ltd., and Scottish Woodlands Ltd.