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Determining the scale at which variation in a single gene changes population yields


McGale, Erica; Valim, Henrique; Mittal, Deepika; Morales Jimenez, Jesús; Halitschke, Rayko; Schuman, Meredith Christine; Baldwin, Ian T (2020). Determining the scale at which variation in a single gene changes population yields. eLife, 9:e53517.

Abstract

Plant trait diversity is known to influence population yield, but the scale at which this happens remains unknown: divergent individuals might change yields of immediate neighbors (neighbor scale) or of plants across a population (population scale). We use Nicotiana attenuata plants silenced in mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (irMPK4) – with low water-use efficiency (WUE) – to study the scale at which water-use traits alter intraspecific population yields. In the field and glasshouse, we observed overyielding in populations with low percentages of irMPK4 plants, unrelated to water-use phenotypes. Paired-plant experiments excluded the occurrence of overyielding effects at the neighbor scale. Experimentally altering field arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal associations by silencing the Sym-pathway gene NaCCaMK did not affect reproductive overyielding, implicating an effect independent of belowground AMF interactions. Additionally, micro-grafting experiments revealed dependence on shoot-expressed MPK4 for N. attenuata to vary its yield per neighbor presence. We find that variation in a single gene, MPK4, is responsible for population overyielding through a mechanism, independent of irMPK4’s WUE phenotype, at the aboveground, population scale.

Abstract

Plant trait diversity is known to influence population yield, but the scale at which this happens remains unknown: divergent individuals might change yields of immediate neighbors (neighbor scale) or of plants across a population (population scale). We use Nicotiana attenuata plants silenced in mitogen-activated protein kinase 4 (irMPK4) – with low water-use efficiency (WUE) – to study the scale at which water-use traits alter intraspecific population yields. In the field and glasshouse, we observed overyielding in populations with low percentages of irMPK4 plants, unrelated to water-use phenotypes. Paired-plant experiments excluded the occurrence of overyielding effects at the neighbor scale. Experimentally altering field arbuscular mycorrhizal fungal associations by silencing the Sym-pathway gene NaCCaMK did not affect reproductive overyielding, implicating an effect independent of belowground AMF interactions. Additionally, micro-grafting experiments revealed dependence on shoot-expressed MPK4 for N. attenuata to vary its yield per neighbor presence. We find that variation in a single gene, MPK4, is responsible for population overyielding through a mechanism, independent of irMPK4’s WUE phenotype, at the aboveground, population scale.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
07 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Scopus Subject Areas:Life Sciences > General Neuroscience
Life Sciences > General Immunology and Microbiology
Life Sciences > General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology, General Immunology and Microbiology, General Neuroscience, General Medicine
Language:English
Date:14 February 2020
Deposited On:06 Aug 2020 16:22
Last Modified:23 Jun 2024 01:41
Publisher:eLife Sciences Publications Ltd.
ISSN:2050-084X
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.7554/elife.53517
  • Content: Accepted Version
  • Language: English
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)