Organisms can rapidly mitigate the effects of environmental changes by changing their phenotypes, known as phenotypic plasticity. Yet, little is known about the temperature-mediated plasticity of traits that are directly linked to plant fitness such as flower size. We discovered substantial genetic variation in flower size plasticity to temperature both among selfing Arabidopsis thaliana and outcrossing A. arenosa individuals collected from a natural growth habitat. Genetic analysis using a panel of 290 A. thaliana accession and mutant lines revealed that MADS AFFECTING FLOWERING (MAF) 2-5 gene cluster, previously shown to regulate temperature-mediated flowering time, was associated to the flower size plasticity to temperature. Furthermore, our findings pointed that the control of plasticity differs from control of the trait itself. Altogether, our study advances the understanding of genetic and molecular factors underlying plasticity on fundamental fitness traits, such as flower size, in response to future climate scenarios.
Keywords: Plant biology; Plant genetics; Plant morphology; Plant physiology.
© 2022 The Author(s).