The use of selected propagation material from tree improvement programs is expected to lead to a more homogenous product, generally appreciated by industry. So far, breeding strategy have been mainly targeted to maximize acclimation/adaptation to specific environment conditions, tree growth and disease resistance, but it is not obvious that such strategy might lead to improvement of wood characteristics at the same time. Therefore, it seems important to introduce wood traits improvement as specific target of the selection process in tree breeding programs, and/or to assess heritability of wood technological properties of trees previously selected based on different criteria. Investigations reported so far have revealed that several wood traits are under a medium to high genetic control. The main goal of this work is to discuss the suitability of wood traits improvement as main target of specific breeding programs, with particular attention to wood technological characteristics to be considered in the tree selection process. Finally, we focused on noble hardwoods, that have been the target species for many improvement programs developed in Italy, and particularly on wild cherry, where studies on the genetic control of wood traits are rare
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