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Title: Local adaptation of wild populations of Arabidopsis thaliana to coastal and inland habitats in Catalonia
Author: Busoms González, Sílvia
ISNI:       0000 0004 5918 0165
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2015
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The natural genetic variation among A. thaliana populations in Catalonia was used to identify local adaptation to coastal and inland habitats. A Species Distribution Model (SMD) was created to locate multiple small stands of A. thaliana (demes). Results using 425 genome-wide SNP markers under clustering and population analysis indicate a high percentage of shared alleles among demes. Multi-year field-based reciprocal transplant experiments were designed to identify fitness trade-offs between inland and coastal demes. Progenies from these demes performed better in their local/home environments. Similar results were obtained in greenhouse common garden experiments, confirming that soil is a driving factor for local adaptation. Plants from the coastal habitat outperformed those from inland when grown together under high salinity. It is concluded that A. thaliana is locally adapted to coastal environments, and this adaptation is driven, at least in part, by the elevated salinity of coastal soils. Our results do not point to a single mechanism of salinity tolerance. AtSOS1 and AtHKT1;1 may cooperate increasing leaf Na+ and its vacuolar storage achieving better osmotic adjustment. Crossings between coastal (salt tolerant) and inland (salt sensitive) plants suggest maternal inheritance of salt tolerance. Polymorphisms in both AtHKT1;1 and AtMOT1 may be of adaptive significance because the weak alleles were only detected in coastal demes. However, all results indicate that genetic variability in AtHKT1;1 allele is not responsible for the salinity tolerance. We conclude that the weak allele of AtHKT1;1 persists and coexists with plants bearing the strong allele thanks to early flowering and better tolerance of moderate salinity. Moreover, the weak allele of AtMOT1 was more frequent and was detected nearer to the sea than the weak allele of AtHKT1;1. Results with mot1 knockout mutants under NaCl treatments indicate that loss of function of AtMOT1 may enhance tolerance to salt stress.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: National Institutes of Health (U.S.) ; Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación (Spain)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Arabidopsis thaliana