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PLOS ONE  2012 

Natural Variation in Arabidopsis thaliana Revealed a Genetic Network Controlling Germination Under Salt Stress

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015198

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Abstract:

Plant responses to environmental stresses are polygenic and complex traits. In this study quantitative genetics using natural variation in Arabidopsis thaliana was used to investigate the genetic architecture of plant responses to salt stress. Eighty seven A. thaliana accessions were screened and showed a large variation for root development and seed germination under 125 and 200 mM NaCl, respectively. Twenty two quantitative trait loci for these traits have been detected by phenotyping two recombinants inbred line populations, Sha x Col and Sha x Ler. Four QTLs controlling germination under salt were detected in the Sha x Col population. Interestingly, only one allelic combination at these four QTLs inhibits germination under salt stress, implying strong epistatic interactions between them. In this interacting context, we confirmed the effect of one QTL by phenotyping selected heterozygous inbred families. We also showed that this QTL is involved in the control of germination under other stress conditions such as KCl, mannitol, cold, glucose and ABA. Our data highlights the presence of a genetic network which consists of four interacting QTLs and controls germination under limiting environmental conditions.

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