Genetic variation in the effect of seed maturation environment on seed performance

E.A.R. Serin, L.A.J. Willems, H. Nijveen, L.B. Snoek, H.W.M. Hilhorst, W. Ligterink

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


Seed set is a crucial phase in plant’s life cycle yet particularly sensitive to stresses. The intrinsic
properties of seeds, such as the ability to germinate, are acquired during seed embryogenesis and
seed maturation on the mother plant. Prolonged exposure to stress of the mother plant during seed
development can alter the innate quality of the seed. Once shed from the mother plant, the ability of
the seed to germinate is determined by either favorable or unfavorable germination conditions.
However, germination requirements can be alleviated by the effect of the maturation environment. In
addition, effects of the maturation environment have been shown to be expressed in a genotypedependent
manner. Therefore, the interaction between the genotype, the maturation and germination
environment of the seed (G x E x E) are instrumental in determining seed performance.
To date, little is known about the genetic basis of GxE in regard to seed performance. To address
this, we grew an Arabidopsis Bayreuth x Shahdara recombinant inbred line (RIL) population under
different mild stress environments from flowering until seed harvest: standard, high temperature, high
light and low phosphate conditions. The seeds produced under each environment were used for
extensive phenotyping. Traditional linkage analysis (QTL analysis) revealed germination QTLs
interacting with both the seed maturation environment and the germination conditions (QTL x E). In
order to gain insight into the underlying molecular mechanisms of this variation, transcriptomics and
metabolomics data were generated from fresh dry seeds of the different populations. In a generalized
genetical genomics approach, regions in the genome responsible for variation in gene expression
(eQTLs) and metabolite content (mQTLs) were mapped and compared to phenotypic QTLs. Deeper
understanding of the genetic basis of the effect of the production environment on seed performance
provides a basis for improvement of seed performance prediction.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2017
EventInternational society for seed science: Triennial Conference 2017 - Monterey Plaza Hotel, Monterey, United States
Duration: 10 Sept 201714 Sept 2017


ConferenceInternational society for seed science
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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