Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology

Sammarco, Iris [1], Munzbergova, Zuzana [2], Latzel, Vit [3].

Natural DNA methylation variation in wild strawberry populations along a climatic gradient.

Our planet is currently facing unprecedented rates of environmental change that is seriously endangering many living organisms, including plants. Understanding the capacity of plants to cope with rapid environmental change is obviously one of the crucial tasks of current science.
Recent studies have suggested that epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, might contribute to the local adaptation of natural plant populations. Epigenetic modifications can be heritable, and the inheritance seems to be more prominent in asexually (clonally) reproducing plants. This evidence suggests that epigenetic variation may have an important role in the ecological success of plants, that might be particularly relevant for clonal species, and that may help them bypassing their potentially low genetic variation. However, not many studies address these broad ecological and evolutionary questions in the current literature; further investigation in this direction is thus needed.
In this research, we aim at assessing the role of DNA methylation in the local adaptation of wild strawberry (Fragaria vesca) populations. Its relatively small genome, wide natural distribution and the ability to reproduce clonally as well as sexually, make this species a good model system for this study. Using a single-base resolution technique of cytosine DNA methylation, we evaluated patterns of epigenetic variation of 21 natural populations of the wild strawberry along a latitudinal and altitudinal gradient, both in field and common garden conditions. Principal component analysis showed that overall epigenetic variation was closely related to the geographic origin of the populations, irrespective of the growing conditions (field vs garden). Between populations with different climatic origin, we found crucial differences in functional DNA regions and a potential variation in transposable elements regulation. These findings suggest that DNA methylation can have a key role in the local adaptation of natural plant populations.

Related Links:
Williams et al 2019

1 - The Czech Academy of Sciences , Institute of Botany, Zámek 1, Průhonice, CZ-252 43 , Czech Republic
2 - Institute Of Botany, Pruhonice, 252 43, Czech Republic
3 - Institute Of Botany Of The Czech Academy Of Sciences, Population Ecology, Zamek 1, Pruhonice, CZ-252 43 , Czech Republic

DNA methylation
crop wild relatives
Local Adaptation.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: MOL1, Molecular Ecology
Location: Virtual/Virtual
Date: Tuesday, July 28th, 2020
Time: 12:45 PM
Number: MOL1002
Abstract ID:360
Candidate for Awards:None

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