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Testing the chilling: Before drought-tolerance hypothesis in Pooideae grasses

Cite this dataset

Das, Aayudh et al. (2022). Testing the chilling: Before drought-tolerance hypothesis in Pooideae grasses [Dataset]. Dryad.


Temperate Pooideae are a large clade of economically important grasses distributed in some of the Earth’s coldest and driest terrestrial environments. Previous studies have inferred that Pooideae diversified from their tropical ancestors in a cold montane habitat, suggesting that above-freezing cold (chilling) tolerance evolved early in the subfamily. By contrast, drought tolerance is hypothesized to have evolved multiple times independently in response to global aridification that occurred after the split of Pooideae tribes. To independently test predictions of the chilling before-drought hypothesis in Pooideae, we assessed the conservation of whole plant and gene expression traits in response to chilling versus drought. We demonstrated that both trait responses are more similar across tribes in cold as compared to drought, suggesting that chilling responses evolved before, and drought responses after, tribe diversification. Moreover, we found significantly more overlap between drought and chilling-responsive genes within a species than between drought-responsive genes across species, providing evidence that chilling tolerance genes acted as precursors for the novel acquisition of increased drought tolerance multiple times independently, partially through the cooption of chilling responsive genes.


United States Department of Agriculture, Award: VT-H02712