Effects of Multi-Generational Stress Exposure and Offspring Environment on the Expression and Persistence of Transgenerational Effects in Arabidopsis thaliana

Maartje P. Groot, R. Kooke, Nieke Knoben, P. Vergeer, J.J.B. Keurentjes, N.J. Ouborg, Koen J.F. Verhoeven

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Abstract

Plant phenotypes can be affected by environments experienced by their parents. Parental environmental effects are reported for the first offspring generation and some studies showed persisting environmental effects in second and further offspring generations. However, the expression of these transgenerational effects proved context-dependent and their reproducibility can be low. Here we study the context-dependency of transgenerational effects by evaluating parental and transgenerational effects under a range of parental induction and offspring evaluation conditions. We systematically evaluated two factors that can influence the expression of transgenerational effects: single- versus multiple-generation exposure and offspring environment. For this purpose, we exposed a single homozygous Arabidopsis thaliana Col-0 line to salt stress for up to three generations and evaluated offspring performance under control and salt conditions in a climate chamber and in a natural environment. Parental as well as transgenerational effects were observed in almost all traits and all environments and traced back as far as great-grandparental environments. The length of exposure exerted strong effects; multiple-generation exposure often reduced the expression of the parental effect compared to single-generation exposure. Furthermore, the expression of transgenerational effects strongly depended on offspring environment for rosette diameter and flowering time, with opposite effects observed in field and greenhouse evaluation environments. Our results provide important new insights into the occurrence of transgenerational effects and contribute to a better understanding of the context-dependency of these effects.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0151566
Number of pages16
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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    Data from: Effects of multi-generational stress exposure and offspring environment on the expression and persistence of transgenerational effects in Arabidopsis thaliana

    Groot, M. (Creator), Kooke, R. (Creator), Knoben, N. (Creator), Vergeer, P. (Creator), Keurentjes, J. (Creator), Ouborg, N. J. (Creator) & Verhoeven, K. J. F. (Creator), Wageningen University & Research, 2016

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