Interaction between parental environment and genotype affects plant and seed performance in Arabidopsis

H. He, D. De Souza Vidigal, L.B. Snoek, S.K. Schnabel, H. Nijveen, H. Hilhorst, L. Bentsink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

134 Citations (Scopus)


Seed performance after dispersal is highly dependent on parental environmental cues, especially during seed formation and maturation. Here we examine which environmental factors are the most dominant in this respect and whether their effects are dependent on the genotypes under investigation. We studied the influence of light intensity, photoperiod, temperature, nitrate, and phosphate during seed development on five plant attributes and thirteen seed attributes, using 12 Arabidopsis genotypes that have been reported to be affected in seed traits. As expected, the various environments during seed development resulted in changed plant and/or seed performances. Comparative analysis clearly indicated that, overall, temperature plays the most dominant role in both plant and seed performance, whereas light has a prominent impact on plant traits. In comparison to temperature and light, nitrate mildly affected some of the plant and seed traits while phosphate had even less influence on those traits. Moreover, clear genotype-by-environment interactions were identified. This was shown by the fact that individual genotypes responded differentially to the environmental conditions. Low temperature significantly increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG1 and cyp707a1-1, whereas low light intensity increased seed dormancy and decreased seed longevity of NILDOG3 and NILDOG6. This also indicates that different genetic and molecular pathways are involved in the plant and seed responses. By identifying environmental conditions that affect the dormancy vs longevity correlation in the same way as previously identified naturally occurring loci, we have identified selective forces that probably shaped evolution for these important seed traits.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6603-6615
JournalJournal of Experimental Botany
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • sativa miller brassicaceae
  • abscisic-acid biosynthesis
  • maturation environment
  • drought tolerance
  • natural variation
  • key enzyme
  • dormancy
  • germination
  • thaliana
  • temperature


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