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Nat Commun. 2012;3:1319. doi: 10.1038/ncomms2333.

Structured patterns in geographic variability of metabolic phenotypes in Arabidopsis thaliana.

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  • 1Systems Biology and Mathematical Modeling Group, Max-Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, 14476 Potsdam-Golm, Germany.


Understanding molecular factors determining local adaptation is a key challenge, particularly relevant for plants, which are sessile organisms coping with a continuously fluctuating environment. Here we introduce a rigorous network-based approach for investigating the relation between geographic location of accessions and heterogeneous molecular phenotypes. We demonstrate for Arabidopsis accessions that not only genotypic variability but also flowering and metabolic phenotypes show a robust pattern of isolation-by-distance. Our approach opens new avenues to investigate relations between geographic origin and heterogeneous molecular phenotypes, like metabolite profiles, which can easily be obtained in species where genome data is not yet available.

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