Genome-wide signatures of flowering adaptation to climate temperature: Regional analyses in a highly diverse native range of Arabidopsis thaliana

Plant Cell Environ. 2018 Aug;41(8):1806-1820. doi: 10.1111/pce.13189. Epub 2018 Apr 20.


Current global change is fueling an interest to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms of plant adaptation to climate. In particular, altered flowering time is a common strategy for escape from unfavourable climate temperature. In order to determine the genomic bases underlying flowering time adaptation to this climatic factor, we have systematically analysed a collection of 174 highly diverse Arabidopsis thaliana accessions from the Iberian Peninsula. Analyses of 1.88 million single nucleotide polymorphisms provide evidence for a spatially heterogeneous contribution of demographic and adaptive processes to geographic patterns of genetic variation. Mountains appear to be allele dispersal barriers, whereas the relationship between flowering time and temperature depended on the precise temperature range. Environmental genome-wide associations supported an overall genome adaptation to temperature, with 9.4% of the genes showing significant associations. Furthermore, phenotypic genome-wide associations provided a catalogue of candidate genes underlying flowering time variation. Finally, comparison of environmental and phenotypic genome-wide associations identified known (Twin Sister of FT, FRIGIDA-like 1, and Casein Kinase II Beta chain 1) and new (Epithiospecifer Modifier 1 and Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel 5) genes as candidates for adaptation to climate temperature by altered flowering time. Thus, this regional collection provides an excellent resource to address the spatial complexity of climate adaptation in annual plants.

Keywords: Arabidopsis; FRIGIDA-like 1 (FRL1); Twin Sister of FT (TSF); Voltage-Dependent Anion Channel 5 (VDAC5); adaptation; climate; flowering; genome-wide association (GWA); genomic; temperature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / genetics
  • Alleles
  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis / growth & development
  • Arabidopsis / physiology
  • Climate
  • Flowers / genetics*
  • Flowers / growth & development
  • Flowers / physiology
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Genome, Plant / genetics
  • Genome, Plant / physiology
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / genetics
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide / physiology
  • Temperature