The relative impact of parental and current environment on plant transcriptomes depends on type of stress and genotype.

Earley TS, Feiner N, Alvarez MF, Coolon JD, Sultan SE

Proc. Biol. Sci. 290 (2007) 20230824 [2023-09-27; online 2023-09-27]

Through developmental plasticity, an individual organism integrates influences from its immediate environment with those due to the environment of its parents. While both effects on phenotypes are well documented, their relative impact has been little studied in natural systems, especially at the level of gene expression. We examined this issue in four genotypes of the annual plant Persicaria maculosa by varying two key resources-light and soil moisture-in both generations. Transcriptomic analyses showed that the relative effects of parent and offspring environment on gene expression (i.e. the number of differentially expressed transcripts, DETs) varied both for the two types of resource stress and among genotypes. For light, immediate environment induced more DETs than parental environment for all genotypes, although the precise proportion of parental versus immediate DETs varied among genotypes. By contrast, the relative effect of soil moisture varied dramatically among genotypes, from 8-fold more DETs due to parental than immediate conditions to 10-fold fewer. These findings provide evidence at the transcriptomic level that the relative impacts of parental and immediate environment on the developing organism may depend on the environmental factor and vary strongly among genotypes, providing potential for the interplay of these developmental influences to evolve.

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PubMed 37752834

DOI 10.1098/rspb.2023.0824

Crossref 10.1098/rspb.2023.0824

pmc: PMC10523085
Dryad: 10.5061/dryad.jsxksn0fp
figshare: 10.6084/m9.figshare.c.6834925

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