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Am J Bot. 2005 Oct;92(10):1701-7. doi: 10.3732/ajb.92.10.1701.

Vernalization sensitivity in Arabidopsis thaliana (Brassicaceae): the effects of latitude and FLC variation.

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Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island 02912 USA;


Latitudinal variation in climate is predicted to select for latitudinal differentiation in sensitivity to the environmental cues that signal plants to flower at the appropriate time for a given climate. In Arabidopsis thaliana, flowering is promoted by exposure to cold temperatures (vernalization), and several vernalization pathway loci are known. To test whether natural variation in vernalization sensitivity could account for a previously observed latitudinal cline in flowering time in A. thaliana, we exposed 21 European accessions to 0, 10, 20, or 30 d of vernalization and observed leaf number at flowering under short days in a growth chamber. We observed a significant latitudinal cline in vernalization sensitivity: southern accessions were more sensitive to vernalization than northern accessions. In addition, accessions that were late flowering in the absence of vernalization were more sensitive to vernalization cues. Allelic variation at the flowering time regulatory gene FLC was not associated with mean vernalization sensitivity, but one allele class exhibited greater variance in vernalization sensitivity.

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