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Plant Cell Environ. 2008 Aug;31(8):1170-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3040.2008.01833.x. Epub 2008 May 28.

Genetic variation in Arabidopsis thaliana for night-time leaf conductance.

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Department of Land, Air and Water Resources, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


Night-time leaf conductance (g(night)) and transpiration may have several adaptive benefits related to plant water, nutrient and carbon relations. Little is known, however, about genetic variation in g(night) and whether this variation correlates with other gas exchange traits related to water use and/or native habitat climate. We investigated g(night) in 12 natural accessions and three near isogenic lines (NILs) of Arabidopsis thaliana. Genetic variation in g(night) was found for the natural accessions, and g(night) was negatively correlated with native habitat atmospheric vapour pressure deficit (VPD(air)), suggesting lower g(night) may be favoured by natural selection in drier habitats. However, there were also significant genetic correlations of g(night) with daytime gas exchange traits expected to affect plant fitness [i.e. daytime leaf conductance, photosynthesis and intrinsic water-use efficiency (WUE(i))], indicating that selection on daytime gas exchange traits may result in indirect selection on g(night). The comparison of three NILs to their parental genotypes identified one quantitative trait locus (QTL) contributing to variation in g(night). Further characterization of genetic variation in g(night) within and among populations and species, and of associations with other traits and native habitats will be needed to understand g(night) as a putatively adaptive trait.

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