Adaptation to high soil trace metal element concentrations in Arabidopsis arenosa
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Metalliferous soils are harsh environments for plants as a result of their low levels of macronutrients and richness in trace metal elements (TME; e.g. Cd, Pb, Zn). Plant survival under these conditions requires soil-specific adaptations. Arabidopsis arenosa, a relative of A. thaliana, is an obligate outcrosser that occurs on both metalliferous and non-metalliferous soils. We are interested in adaptive differences between populations from metalliferous (M) and non-metalliferous (NM) sites, from a genomic and a functional perspective. From natural M and NM populations, we collected leaves, soil and seeds of individual plants, determined leaf and soil TME content and performed genomic divergence scans and environmental association analyses. In a greenhouse reciprocal transplant experiment, we tested for local adaptation and differences in gene transcription (RNAseq). Further, to perform a bulked segregant analysis, we created a segregating F2 population by crossing M and NM individuals from one soil contrast. Here, we demonstrate that M populations are adapted to metalliferous soils and that metalliferous soils exert a strong selection pressure manifesting in differing survival rates of M and NM plants on metalliferous soil. We present how we identify candidate loci underlying adaptive differences between M and NM populations, by integrating population genomics (genome scans, association analyses), quantitative genetics (bulked segregant analysis, RNAseq) and in the near future molecular biology (cloning of alleles, characterisation of knock-out mutants). To date, our approach identified well characterised metal-adaptation genes (e.g. HMA4, MTP1) next to a majority of undescribed and (so far) non-metal related candidate loci. Show more
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Book titleOnline Program and Abstracts: 17th Congress of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB 2019)
Pages / Article No.
Organisational unit03706 - Widmer, Alexander / Widmer, Alexander
171523 - The functional basis of edaphic adaptation to high metal concentrations (SNF)
NotesConference lecture on August 24, 2019.
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