Abstract Detail

Development and Structure

Lawrence, Erica [1], Lasky, Jesse [2].

Genetic variation in vegetative phase change alters plant response to abiotic stress.

Developmental transitions impact ecology and evolution by altering the way plants interact with their environment. Studies of germination and flowering show that developmental timing has significant impacts on plant fitness and performance, but very little attention has been given to the juvenile-to-adult transition: vegetative phase change. In this study we used diverse genotypes of Arabidopsis thaliana and mutant lines with altered developmental timing to investigate how plants differentially respond to abiotic factors including drought, light and heat across vegetative development. Specifically, we used measures of growth, fitness, and phenotypic plasticity to understand how the timing of vegetative phase change, and the phase a plant is in when exposed to stress, impact the plant’s ability to respond to these stressors. Further, we looked for associations between natural variation in the timing of vegetative phase change and climate-of-origin to understand whether this developmental transition contributes to environmental adaptation.Overall, we found that the timing of vegetative phase change has significant impacts on plant performance in response to abiotic stress and that the developmental phase of a plant (i.e., juvenile or adult) alters phenotypic plasticity. Plants that remain in the juvenile phase longer, had greater growth and performance outcomes under stress than those that transition earlier. Interestingly, tissues that are developmentally adult, displayed higher plasticity in leaf traits in response to these stressors than those that are developmentally juvenile. Further, we found significant relationships between the timing of vegetative phase change and climate-of-origin indicating that the timing of this transition may contribute to both adaptation and acclimation in plants. Our study provides further evidence that vegetative phase change results in important physiological shifts in plants that contribute to their success and should not be overlooked.

1 - Pennsylvania State University, Biology, 405D Huck Life Sciences Building, Lasky Lab, University Park, PA, 16802, United States
2 - 408 Life Science Building, University Park, PA, 16802, United States

Vegetative phase change
Abiotic stress
vegetative traits
Genetic variation.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Number: DS6004
Abstract ID:1039
Candidate for Awards:None

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