Journal Article

Genetic and environmental contributions to variation and population divergence in a broad-spectrum foliar defence of <i>Eucalyptus tricarpa</i>

Rose L. Andrew, Ian R. Wallis, Chris E. Harwood and William J. Foley

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 105, issue 5, pages 707-717
Published in print May 2010 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online March 2010 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcq034
Genetic and environmental contributions to variation and population divergence in a broad-spectrum foliar defence of Eucalyptus tricarpa

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

Both environmental and genetic effects contribute to phenotypic variation within and among populations. Genetic differentiation of quantitative traits among populations has been shown in many species, yet it can also be accompanied by other genetic changes, such as divergence in phenotypic plasticity and in genetic variance. Sideroxylonal (a formylated phloroglucinol compound or FPC) is an important chemical defence in eucalypts. The effect of environmental variation on its production is a critical gap in our understanding of its genetics and evolution.

Methods

The stability of genetic variation in sideroxylonal was assessed within and among populations of Eucalyptus tricarpa in three replicated provenance/progeny trials. The covariance structure of the data was also modelled to test whether genetic variances were consistent among populations and Fain's test was applied for major gene effects.

Key Results

A significant genotype × environment interaction occurred at the level of population, and was related to temperature range and seasonality in source populations. Within-population genetic variation was not affected by genotype × environment effects or different sampling years. However, within-population genetic variance for sideroxylonal concentration differed significantly among source populations. Regression of family variance on family mean suggested that this trait is subject to major gene effects, which could explain the observed differences in genetic variances among populations.

Conclusions

These results highlight the importance of replicated common-garden experiments for understanding the genetic basis of population differences. Genotype × environment interactions are unlikely to impede evolution or responses to artificial selection on sideroxylonal, but the lack of genetic variation in some populations may be a constraint. The results are broadly consistent with localized selection on foliar defence and illustrate that differentiation in population means, whether due to selection or to drift, can be accompanied by changes in other characteristics, such as plasticity and genetic variance.

Keywords: Additive genetic variance; open-pollinated common-garden experiment; genotype × environment interaction; plasticity; Eucalyptus tricarpa; sideroxylonal; formylated phloroglucinol compounds (FPCs); chemical defence

Journal Article.  7774 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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