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The Maternal Environment Interacts With Genetic Variation In Regulating Seed Dormancy In Arabidopsis thaliana

By Envel Kerdaffrec, Magnus Nordborg

Posted 17 Mar 2017
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/117879 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0190242)

Seed dormancy is a complex adaptive trait that controls the timing of seed germination, one of the major fitness components in many plant species. Despite being highly heritable, seed dormancy is extremely plastic and influenced by a wide range of environmental cues. Here, using a set of 92 Arabidopsis thaliana lines from Sweden, we investigate the effect of seed maturation temperature on dormancy variation at the population level. The response to temperature differs dramatically between lines, demonstrating that genotype and the maternal environment interact in controlling the trait. By performing a genome-wide association study (GWAS), we identified several candidate genes that could account for this plasticity, two of which are involved in the photoinduction of germination. Altogether, our results provide insight into both the molecular mechanisms and the evolution of dormancy plasticity, and can serve to improve our understanding of environmentally dependent life-history transitions.

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