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Environmental and genetic interactions reveal FLOWERING LOCUS C as a modulator of the natural variation for the plasticity of flowering in Arabidopsis

AutorMéndez-Vigo, Belén; Savic, Marija; Ausín, Israel; Ramiro, Mercedes; Martín, Beatriz; Picó, F. Xavier; Alonso-Blanco, Carlos
Palabras claveEpistasis
Phenotypic plasticity
Genotype by environment interaction
Arabidopsis, natural variation
Flowering locus C (FLC)
Fecha de publicación2016
EditorBlackwell Publishing
CitaciónPlant, Cell and Environment 39: 282- 294 (2016)
ResumenThe timing of flowering initiation depends strongly on the environment, a property termed as the plasticity of flowering. Such plasticity determines the adaptive potential of plants because it provides phenotypic buffer against environmental changes, and its natural variation contributes to evolutionary adaptation. We addressed the genetic mechanisms of the natural variation for this plasticity in Arabidopsis thaliana by analysing a population of recombinant inbred lines derived from Don-0 and Ler accessions collected from distinct climates. Quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping in four environmental conditions differing in photoperiod, vernalization treatment and ambient temperature detected the folllowing: (i) FLOWERING LOCUS C (FLC) as a large effect QTL affecting flowering time differentially in all environments; (ii) numerous QTL displaying smaller effects specifically in some conditions; and (iii) significant genetic interactions between FLC and other loci. Hence, the variation for the plasticity of flowering is determined by a combination of environmentally sensitive and specific QTL, and epistasis. Analysis of FLC from Don identified a new and more active allele likely caused by a cis-regulatory deletion covering the non-coding RNA COLDAIR. Further characterization of four FLC natural alleles showed different environmental and genetic interactions. Thus, FLC appears as a major modulator of the natural variation for the plasticity of flowering to multiple environmental factors.
Identificadoresdoi: 10.1111/pce.12608
issn: 1365-3040
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