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Seed dormancy varies widely among Arabidopsis thaliana populations both between and within Fennoscandia and Italy

Citation

Ågren, Jon et al. (2022), Seed dormancy varies widely among Arabidopsis thaliana populations both between and within Fennoscandia and Italy, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1vhhmgqv6

Abstract

The timing of germination is a key life-history trait in plants, which is strongly affected by the strength of seed dormancy. Continental-wide genetic variation in seed dormancy has been related to differences in climate and the timing of conditions suitable for seedling establishment. However, for predictions of adaptive potential and consequences of climatic change, information is needed regarding the extent to which seed dormancy varies within climatic regions and the factors driving such variation. We quantified dormancy of seeds produced by 17 Italian and 28 Fennoscandian populations of Arabidopsis thaliana when grown in the greenhouse and at two field sites in Italy and Sweden. To identify possible drivers of among-population variation in seed dormancy, we examined the relationship between seed dormancy and climate at the site of population origin, and between seed dormancy and flowering time. Seed dormancy was on average stronger in the Italian compared to the Fennoscandian populations, but also varied widely within both regions. Estimates of seed dormancy in the three maternal environments were positively correlated. Among Fennoscandian populations, seed dormancy tended to increase with increasing summer temperature and decreasing precipitation at the site of population origin. In the smaller sample of Italian populations, no significant association was detected between mean seed dormancy and climate at the site of origin. The correlation between population mean seed dormancy and flowering time was weak and not statistically significant within regions. The correlation between seed dormancy and climatic factors in Fennoscandia suggests that at least some of the among-population variation is adaptive and that climate change will affect selection on this trait. The weak correlation between population mean seed dormancy and flowering time indicates that the two traits can evolve independently.

Methods

See publication: Zacchello, G., S. Bomers, C. Böhme, F. M. Postma, and J. Ågren. Seed dormancy varies widely among Arabidopsis thaliana populations both between and within Fennoscandia and Italy. Ecology and Evolution, in press.

Funding

Swedish Research Council