Journal Article

Phenotypic plasticity and its genetic regulation for yield, nitrogen fixation and δ<sup>13</sup>C in chickpea crops under varying water regimes

Victor O. Sadras, Lachlan Lake, Yongle Li, Elizabeth A. Farquharson and Tim Sutton

in Journal of Experimental Botany

Volume 67, issue 14, pages 4339-4351
Published in print July 2016 | ISSN: 0022-0957
Published online June 2016 | e-ISSN: 1460-2431 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jxb/erw221
Phenotypic plasticity and its genetic regulation for yield, nitrogen fixation and δ13C in chickpea crops under varying water regimes

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We measured yield components, nitrogen fixation, soil nitrogen uptake and carbon isotope composition (δ13C) in a collection of chickpea genotypes grown in environments where water availability was the main source of yield variation. We aimed to quantify the phenotypic plasticity of these traits using variance ratios, and to explore their genetic basis using FST genome scan. Fifty-five genes in three genomic regions were found to be under selection for plasticity of yield; 54 genes in four genomic regions for the plasticity of seeds per m2; 48 genes in four genomic regions for the plasticity of δ13C; 54 genes in two genomic regions for plasticity of flowering time; 48 genes in five genomic regions for plasticity of nitrogen fixation and 49 genes in three genomic regions for plasticity of nitrogen uptake from soil. Plasticity of yield was related to plasticity of nitrogen uptake from soil, and unrelated to plasticity of nitrogen fixation, highlighting the need for closer attention to nitrogen uptake in legumes. Whereas the theoretical link between δ13C and transpiration efficiency is strong, the actual link with yield is erratic due to trade-offs and scaling issues. Genes associated with plasticity of δ13C were identified that may help to untangle the δ13C-yield relationship. Combining a plasticity perspective to deal with complex G×E interactions with FST genome scan may help understand and improve both crop adaptation to stress and yield potential.

Keywords: Drought; FST genome scan; nitrogen; plasticity; seed number; trade-off; yield potential.

Journal Article.  9662 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Plant Sciences and Forestry

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