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Phenotype pictures of Arabidopsis thaliana in high light and low light conditions

Cite this dataset

Wieters, Benedict; de Meaux, Juliette (2020). Phenotype pictures of Arabidopsis thaliana in high light and low light conditions [Dataset]. Dryad.


The rate at which plants grow is a major functional trait in plant ecology. However, little is known about its evolution in natural populations. Here, we investigate evolutionary and environmental factors shaping variation in the growth rate of Arabidopsis thaliana. We used plant diameter as a proxy to monitor plant growth over time in environments that mimicked latitudinal differences in the intensity of natural light radiation, across a set of 278 genotypes sampled within four broad regions, including an outgroup set of genotypes from China. The observed variation was validated in a field experiment conducted under natural conditions. All genotypes grew markedly wider rosettes when the light supply was decreased, demonstrating that environmental plasticity is a predominant source of variation to adapt plant size to prevailing light conditions. Yet, we detected significant levels of genetic variation both in growth rate and growth plasticity. Genome-wide association studies revealed that only 2 single nucleotide polymorphisms associate with genetic variation for growth above Bonferroni confidence levels. However, marginally associated variants were strongly enriched among genes with an annotated role in growth and stress reactions. Polygenic scores computed from marginally associated variants confirmed the polygenic basis of growth variation. For both light regimes, phenotypic divergence between Europe and the distantly related populations of China is smaller than the variation observed within Europe indicating that plant growth is constrained by stabilizing selection. We observed that Spanish genotypes, however, reach a significantly larger size than Northern European genotypes. Tests of adaptive divergence and analysis of the individual burden of deleterious mutations reveal that adaptive processes have played a more important role in shaping regional differences in rosette growth than maladaptive evolution.

Usage notes

The rows in the trays were rotated, so the position of a particular plant changes between dates.
Files with the position of each plant are supplied.
The plants had linenumbers assigned, which can be linked to the ID in the info file provided.
Trays 1-8 are the first replicate/block, 9-16 the second and 17-24 the third replicate.


European Research Council, Award: 648617