Research on genetic aspects of scots pine resistance to root rot

Vilnis Škipars, Imants Baumanis, Dainis Ruņgis

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) is Latvia's most economically important tree species. It accounts for 38% of the total forest area of Latvia. One of diseases affecting P. sylvestris is root rot caused by the fungus Heterobasidion annosum, which causes large economic losses. There is some evidence of Scots pine trees with higher levels of resistance but no absolutely resistant tree clones have been described so far. Many genes encoding peptides and proteins with direct or indirect antifungal activity have been described in various plant species, but only few of them have been studied in conifers. In our study we have utilised various approaches to research genetic aspects of Scots pine resistance to H. annosum. Here we present our initial results. Initially, H. annosum infection was determined in 300 trees and in a subset of twenty seven trees representing fifteen families (progeny of one mother tree) infection levels were quantitatively characterised. Candidate-genes were selected based on previously published research. Gene copy number variation (CNV) analyses were performed on selected samples. Copy number variation polymorphism was detected for a gene encoding a thaumatinlike protein analogues of which are described as potent antifungal proteins in other plants. As increased gene copy number can lead to increased gene product amounts in cells it is possible that an increased copy number of thaumatin-like protein is beneficial to the pine tree in respect to resistance against H. annosum and other pathogens. Further experiments need to be performed to investigate this in more detail.

Original languageEnglish
Article number 127838
Pages (from-to)222-226
Number of pages5
JournalResearch for Rural Development
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
Event16th Annual International Scientific Conference - Research for Rural Development 2010 - Jelgava, Latvia
Duration: 19 May 201021 May 2010
Conference number: 16


  • Genetic analysis
  • Pine
  • Resistance
  • Root rot

Field of Science*

  • 4.1 Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries

Publication Type*

  • 1.1. Scientific article indexed in Web of Science and/or Scopus database


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