Association mapping of local climate-sensitive quantitative trait loci in Arabidopsis thaliana

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Dec 7;107(49):21199-204. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1007431107. Epub 2010 Nov 15.


Flowering time (FT) is the developmental transition coupling an internal genetic program with external local and seasonal climate cues. The genetic loci sensitive to predictable environmental signals underlie local adaptation. We dissected natural variation in FT across a new global diversity set of 473 unique accessions, with >12,000 plants across two seasonal plantings in each of two simulated local climates, Spain and Sweden. Genome-wide association mapping was carried out with 213,497 SNPs. A total of 12 FT candidate quantitative trait loci (QTL) were fine-mapped in two independent studies, including 4 located within ±10 kb of previously cloned FT alleles and 8 novel loci. All QTL show sensitivity to planting season and/or simulated location in a multi-QTL mixed model. Alleles at four QTL were significantly correlated with latitude of origin, implying past selection for faster flowering in southern locations. Finally, maximum seed yield was observed at an optimal FT unique to each season and location, with four FT QTL directly controlling yield. Our results suggest that these major, environmentally sensitive FT QTL play an important role in spatial and temporal adaptation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Acclimatization / genetics
  • Arabidopsis / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Flowers / genetics*
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci*
  • Seasons
  • Spain
  • Sweden