TREEPLAN A genetic evaluation system for forest tree improvement
TREEPLAN® is a genetic evaluation system for forest tree improvement. The system is designed specifically for the efficient and accurate prediction of genetic values of trees for breeding and deployment purposes. TREEPLAN® uses best linear unbiased prediction (BLUP). BLUP has important statistical advantages over the more traditional methods used in tree breeding as BLUP allows for the comparison of individuals across space and time, regardless of the environment in which the trees are grown. Although BLUP methods are well developed theoretically, software currently available is suitable only for breeding value estimation and prediction on ‘small’ and/or ‘well structured’ (balanced) data sets. Packages such as ASREML (Gilmour et al. 1999) and SAS/STATS (1991) have hardware and software limitations that make them unsuitable for the routine prediction of breeding values on very large data sets. The Southern Tree Breeding Association (STBA) implements breeding programs in Australasia for Pinus radiata and Eucalyptus globulus. A feature of these programs is a ‘rolling front’ strategy with overlapping generations. Without suitable BLUP software it is difficult to combine information across locations, years and generations, particularly where the pedigree is complex. A lack of suitable BLUP software may have acted as an impediment to genetic progress in many tree improvement programs internationally. The STBA and the Animal Genetics and Breeding Unit (AGBU) have developed TREEPLAN® as an ‘industrial strength’ system for breeding value prediction using technologies developed and routinely used in animal breeding and livestock improvement.