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Evidence for rapid evolution in a grassland biodiversity experiment


van Moorsel, Sofia J; Schmid, Marc W; Wagemaker, Niels C A M; van Gurp, Thomas; Schmid, Bernhard; Vergeer, Philippine (2019). Evidence for rapid evolution in a grassland biodiversity experiment. Molecular Ecology, 28(17):4097-4117.

Abstract

In long‐term grassland experiments, positive biodiversity effects on plant productivity commonly increase with time. Subsequent glasshouse experiments showed that these strengthened positive biodiversity effects persist not only in the local environment but also when plants are transferred into a common environment. Thus, we hypothesized that community diversity had acted as a selective agent, resulting in the emergence of plant monoculture and mixture types with differing genetic composition. To test our hypothesis, we grew offspring from plants that were grown for eleven years in monoculture or mixture environments in a biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment) under controlled glasshouse conditions in monocultures or two‐species mixtures. We used epiGBS, a genotyping‐by‐sequencing approach combined with bisulphite conversion, to provide integrative genetic and epigenetic (i.e., DNA methylation) data. We observed significant divergence in genetic and DNA methylation data according to selection history in three out of five perennial grassland species, namely Galium mollugo, Prunella vulgaris and Veronica chamaedrys, with DNA methylation differences mostly reflecting the genetic differences. In addition, current diversity levels in the glasshouse had weak effects on epigenetic variation. However, given the limited genome coverage of the reference‐free bisulphite method epiGBS, it remains unclear how much of the differences in DNA methylation was independent of underlying genetic differences. Our results thus suggest that selection of genetic variants, and possibly epigenetic variants, caused the rapid emergence of monoculture and mixture types within plant species in the Jena Experiment.

Abstract

In long‐term grassland experiments, positive biodiversity effects on plant productivity commonly increase with time. Subsequent glasshouse experiments showed that these strengthened positive biodiversity effects persist not only in the local environment but also when plants are transferred into a common environment. Thus, we hypothesized that community diversity had acted as a selective agent, resulting in the emergence of plant monoculture and mixture types with differing genetic composition. To test our hypothesis, we grew offspring from plants that were grown for eleven years in monoculture or mixture environments in a biodiversity experiment (Jena Experiment) under controlled glasshouse conditions in monocultures or two‐species mixtures. We used epiGBS, a genotyping‐by‐sequencing approach combined with bisulphite conversion, to provide integrative genetic and epigenetic (i.e., DNA methylation) data. We observed significant divergence in genetic and DNA methylation data according to selection history in three out of five perennial grassland species, namely Galium mollugo, Prunella vulgaris and Veronica chamaedrys, with DNA methylation differences mostly reflecting the genetic differences. In addition, current diversity levels in the glasshouse had weak effects on epigenetic variation. However, given the limited genome coverage of the reference‐free bisulphite method epiGBS, it remains unclear how much of the differences in DNA methylation was independent of underlying genetic differences. Our results thus suggest that selection of genetic variants, and possibly epigenetic variants, caused the rapid emergence of monoculture and mixture types within plant species in the Jena Experiment.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Life Sciences > Genetics
Uncontrolled Keywords:Genetics, Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
Language:English
Date:1 September 2019
Deposited On:10 Jan 2020 15:51
Last Modified:29 Jul 2020 13:02
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:0962-1083
Additional Information:This is the peer reviewed version, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15191
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/mec.15191
Project Information:
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID31003A_166457
  • : Project TitleFundamental biological causes of changing plant diversity-productivity relationships
  • : FunderSNSF
  • : Grant ID310030B_147092
  • : Project TitleCommunity history, biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
  • : FunderFP7
  • : Grant ID271671
  • : Project TitleACTIONCONCEPTS - On the conceptual representation of actions

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Content: Accepted Version
Language: English
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Embargo till: 2020-10-01