Accelerate breeding for tree resilience and wood quality in spruce in view of global changes

Funding period: 2020-2024
Lead: Patrick Lenz
Total GRDI funding: $612,750

The main objectives of the project relate to: i) the identification of climatic constraints that influence growth in conifers such as spruces; ii) the identification of new traits and new phenotypes to assess tree resilience and characterize spruce breeding populations; iii) the development of genomic breeding tools for resistance/recovery to abiotic stress (drought, frost).


  • Beaulieu J, Nadeau S, Ding C, Celedon J, Azaiez A, Ritland C, Laverdière J, Deslauriers M, Adams G, Fullarton M, Bohlmann J, Lenz PRN, Bousquet J. 2020. Genomic selection for resistance to spruce budworm in white spruce and relationships with growth and wood quality traits. Evolutionary Applications. 13(10): 2704-2722.
  • Beaulieu J, Lenz P, Bousquet J. 2022. Metadata analysis indicates biased estimation of genetic parameters and gains using conventional pedigree information instead of genomic-based approaches in tree breeding. Scientific Reports, 12, 3933.
  • Bousquet J, Gérardi S, de Lafontaine G, Jaramillo-Correa JP, Pavy N, Prunier J, Lenz P, Beaulieu J. 2021. Spruce population genomics. In Population Genomics of Forest Trees. Ed. O.P. Rajora. Springer-Nature.
  • D'Odorico P, Besik A, Wong CYS, Isabel N, Ensminger I. 2020. High-throughput drone based remote sensing reliably tracks photosynthesis seasonality in thousands of conifer seedlings. New Phytologist, 226: 1667-1681.
  • Depardieu C, Gérardi S, Nadeau S, Parent G, MacKay J, Lenz P, Lamothe M, Girardin MP, Bousquet J, Isabel N. 2021. Connecting tree-ring phenotypes, association genomics, and transcriptomics to uncover drought tolerance in a widespread conifer. Molecular Ecology. 30(16):3898-3917.
  • Duchesne I, Lenz P, Girardin M, Isabel N. 2022. Translocating seed sources to new geoclimatic environments has limited effect on lumber quality of eastern Canadian white spruce. Canadian Journal of Forest Research
  • Girardin MP, Isabel N, Guo XJ, Lamothe M, Duchesne I, Lenz PRN. 2021. Annual aboveground carbon uptake enhancements from assisted gene flow in boreal black spruce forests are not long-lasting. Nature Communications, 12: 1169.
  • Laverdière J-P, Lenz P, Nadeau S, Depardieu C, Isabel N, Perron M, Beaulieu J, Bousquet J. 2022. Breeding for adaptation to climate change: genomic selection for drought response in a white spruce multi-site polycross test. Evolutionary Applications 15. S
  • Nadeau S, Beaulieu J, Gezan SA, Perron M, Bousquet J and Lenz P. 2023. Increasing genomic prediction accuracy for unphenotyped full-sib families by modeling additive and dominance effects with large datasets in white spruce. Frontiers in Plant Science. 14:1137834. S
  • Rashidi-Jouybari I, Lenz P, Beaulieu J, Nadeau S, Bousquet J, Achim A. 2022. Multi-trait selection for improved solid wood physical and flexural properties in white spruce. Forestry 2022. S
  • Royer-Tardif S, Boisvert-Marsh L, Godbout J, Isabel N, Aubin I. 2021. Finding common ground: Toward comparable indicators of adaptive capacity of tree species to a changing climate. Ecology and Evolution, 11, 13081– 13100.
  • Soro A, Lenz P, Roussel JR, Larochelle F, Bousquet J, Achim A. 2022. The phenotypic and genetic effects of drought-induced stress on apical growth, ring width, wood density and biomass in white spruce seedlings. New Forests.
  • Thiffault N, Lenz P, Hjelm K. 2022. Plantation forestry, tree breeding and novel tools to support sustainable management of boreal forests. In: Girona, M.M., Morin, H., Gauthier, S., Bergeron, Y. (eds) Boreal Forests in the Face of Climate Change. Advances in Global Change Research, vol 74. Springer, Cham. S
  • Touchette L, Beaudoin JM, Isabel N, Gélina N, Porth I. 2021. Comment mettre la génomique forestière et la génomique de la conservation au service des communautés autochtones? The Forestry Chronicle. 97: 233-249.

Contact us

For additional information, please contact:
Genomics R&D Initiative