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Nat Commun. 2015 Jul 8;6:7453. doi: 10.1038/ncomms8453.

Natural variation in timing of stress-responsive gene expression predicts heterosis in intraspecific hybrids of Arabidopsis.

Author information

1
Departments of Molecular Biosciences and of Integrative Biology, Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.
2
1] Departments of Molecular Biosciences and of Integrative Biology, Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, Institute for Cellular and Molecular Biology, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA [2] State Key Laboratory of Crop Genetics and Germplasm Enhancement, Nanjing Agricultural University, 1 Weigang Road, Nanjing 210095, China.

Abstract

The genetic distance between hybridizing parents affects heterosis; however, the mechanisms for this remain unclear. Here we report that this genetic distance correlates with natural variation and epigenetic regulation of circadian clock-mediated stress responses. In intraspecific hybrids of Arabidopsis thaliana, genome-wide expression of many biotic and abiotic stress-responsive genes is diurnally repressed and this correlates with biomass heterosis and biomass quantitative trait loci. Expression differences of selected stress-responsive genes among diverse ecotypes are predictive of heterosis in their hybrids. Stress-responsive genes are repressed in the hybrids under normal conditions but are induced to mid-parent or higher levels under stress at certain times of the day, potentially balancing the tradeoff between stress responses and growth. Consistent with this hypothesis, repression of two candidate stress-responsive genes increases growth vigour. Our findings may therefore provide new criteria for effectively selecting parents to produce high- or low-yield hybrids.

PMID:
26154604
DOI:
10.1038/ncomms8453
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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