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Reciprocal cybrids reveal how organellar genomes affect plant phenotypes

Cite this dataset

Theeuwen, Tom et al. (2019). Reciprocal cybrids reveal how organellar genomes affect plant phenotypes [Dataset]. Dryad.


Assessing the impact of variation in chloroplast and mitochondrial DNA (collectively termed the plasmotype) on plant phenotypes is challenging due to the difficulty in separating their effect from nuclear derived variation (the nucleotype). Haploid inducer lines can be used as efficient plasmotype donors to generate new plasmotype-nucleotype combinations (cybrids). We generated a panel comprising all possible cybrids of seven Arabidopsis thaliana accessions and extensively phenotyped these lines for 1859 phenotypes under stable and fluctuating conditions. We show that natural variation in the plasmotype results in additive as well as epistatic effects across all phenotypic categories. Plasmotypes which induce more additive phenotypic changes also cause more significant epistatic effects, suggesting a possible common basis for both additive and epistatic effects. On average epistatic interactions explained twice as much of the variance in phenotypes as additive plasmotype effects. The impact of plasmotypic variation was also more pronounced under fluctuating and stressful environmental conditions. Thus, the phenotypic impact of variation in plasmotypes is the outcome of multilevel Nucleotype x Plasmotype x Environment interactions and, as such, the plasmotype is likely to serve as a reservoir of variation which is predominantly exposed under certain conditions.  The production of cybrids using haploid inducers is a quick and precise method for assessing the phenotypic effects of natural variation in organellar genomes. It will facilitate efficient screening of unique nucleotype-plasmotype combinations to both improve our understanding of natural variation in nucleotype-plasmotype interactions and identify favourable combinations to improve plant performance.