Research output: Contribution to journal › Journal article
|Journal publication date||06/2014|
|Journal||Journal of Experimental Botany|
|Number of pages||10|
The extent of endoreduplication in leaf growth is group- or even species-specific, and its adaptive role is still unclear. A survey of Arabidopsis accessions for variation at the level of endopolyploidy, cell number, and cell size in leaves revealed extensive genetic variation in endopolyploidy level. High endopolyploidy is associated with increased leaf size, both in natural and in genetically unstructured (mapping) populations. The underlying genes were identified as quantitative trait loci that control endopolyploidy in nature by modulating the progression of successive endocycles during organ development. This complex genetic architecture indicates an adaptive mechanism that allows differential organ growth over a broad geographic range and under stressful environmental conditions. UV-B radiation was identified as a significant positive climatic predictor for high endopolyploidy. Arabidopsis accessions carrying the increasing alleles for endopolyploidy also have enhanced tolerance to UV-B radiation. UV-absorbing secondary metabolites provide an additional protective strategy in accessions that display low endopolyploidy. Taken together, these results demonstrate that high constitutive endopolyploidy is a significant predictor for organ size in natural populations and is likely to contribute to sustaining plant growth under high incident UV radiation. Endopolyploidy may therefore form part of the range of UV-B tolerance mechanisms that exist in natural populations.