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PLoS One. 2008 Feb 27;3(2):e1705. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001705.

Natural variation in Arabidopsis thaliana as a tool for highlighting differential drought responses.

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Station de Génétique et d'Amélioration des plantes, Institut Scientifique de Recherche Agronomique (INRA), Versailles, France.


To test whether natural variation in Arabidopsis could be used to dissect out the genetic basis of responses to drought stress, we characterised a number of accessions. Most of the accessions belong to a core collection that was shown to maximise the genetic diversity captured for a given number of individual accessions in Arabidopsis thaliana. We measured total leaf area (TLA), Electrolyte Leakage (EL), Relative Water Content (RWC), and Cut Rosette Water Loss (CRWL) in control and mild water deficit conditions. A Principal Component Analysis revealed which traits explain most of the variation and showed that some accessions behave differently compared to the others in drought conditions, these included Ita-0, Cvi-0 and Shahdara. This study relied on genetic variation found naturally within the species, in which populations are assumed to be adapted to their environment. Overall, Arabidopsis thaliana showed interesting phenotypic variations in response to mild water deficit that can be exploited to identify genes and alleles important for this complex trait.

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