Genome-Wide Association Study of Wood Anatomical and Morphological Traits in Populus trichocarpa

Hari Chhetri, Anna Furches, David Macaya-Sanz, Alejandro Walker, David Kainer, Piet Jones, Anne Harmon-Ware, Timothy Tschaplinski, Daniel Jacobson, Gerald Tuskan, Stephen DiFazio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus Citations


To understand the genetic mechanisms underlying wood anatomical and morphological traits in Populus trichocarpa, we used 869 unrelated genotypes from a common garden in Clatskanie, Oregon that were previously collected from across the distribution range in western North America. Using GEMMA mixed model analysis, we tested for the association of 25 phenotypic traits and nine multitrait combinations with 6.741 million SNPs covering the entire genome. Broad-sense trait heritabilities ranged from 0.117 to 0.477. Most traits were significantly correlated with geoclimatic variables suggesting a role of climate and geography in shaping the variation of this species. Fifty-seven SNPs from single trait GWAS and 11 SNPs from multitrait GWAS passed an FDR threshold of 0.05, leading to the identification of eight and seven nearby candidate genes, respectively. The percentage of phenotypic variance explained (PVE) by the significant SNPs for both single and multitrait GWAS ranged from 0.01% to 6.18%. To further evaluate the potential roles of candidate genes, we used a multi-omic network containing five additional data sets, including leaf and wood metabolite GWAS layers and coexpression and comethylation networks. We also performed a functional enrichment analysis on coexpression nearest neighbors for each gene model identified by the wood anatomical and morphological trait GWAS analyses. Genes affecting cell wall composition and transport related genes were enriched in wood anatomy and stomatal density trait networks. Signaling and metabolism related genes were also common in networks for stomatal density. For leaf morphology traits (leaf dry and wet weight) the networks were significantly enriched for GO terms related to photosynthetic processes as well as cellular homeostasis. The identified genes provide further insights into the genetic control of these traits, which are important determinants of the suitability and sustainability of improved genotypes for lignocellulosic biofuel production.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number545748
Number of pages20
JournalFrontiers in Plant Science
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2020 Chhetri, Furches, Macaya-Sanz, Walker, Kainer, Jones, Harman-Ware, Tschaplinski, Jacobson, Tuskan and DiFazio.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-78068


  • GWAS
  • leaf morphology
  • lignin
  • networks
  • Populus
  • wood anatomy


Dive into the research topics of 'Genome-Wide Association Study of Wood Anatomical and Morphological Traits in Populus trichocarpa'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this