QTL underlying circadian clock parameters under seasonally variable field settings in Arabidopsis thaliana

Matthew Rubin, Marcus Brock, Seth Jon Davis, Cynthia Weinig

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The circadian clock facilitates coordination of the internal rhythms of an organism to daily environmental conditions, such as the light-dark cycle of one day. Circadian period length (the duration of one endogenous cycle) and phase (the timing of peak activity) exhibit quantitative variation in natural populations. Here, we measured circadian period and phase in June, July and September in three Arabidopsis thaliana recombinant inbred line populations. Circadian period and phase were estimated from bioluminescence of a genetic construct between a native circadian clock gene (COLD CIRCADIAN RHYTHM RNA BINDING 2) and the reporter gene (LUCIFERASE) after lines were entrained under field settings. Using a Bayesian mapping approach, we estimated the median number and effect size of genomic regions (Quantitative Trait Loci, QTL) underlying circadian parameters and the degree to which these regions overlap across months of the growing season. We also tested for QTL associations between the circadian clock and plant morphology. The genetic architecture of circadian phase was largely independent across months, as evidenced by the fact that QTL determining phase values in one month of the growing season were different from those determining phase in a second month. QTL for circadian parameters were shared with both cauline and rosette branching in at least one mapping population. The results provide the first insights into the QTL architecture of the clock under field settings, and suggest that the circadian clock is highly responsive to changing environments and that selection can act on clock phase in a nuanced manner.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019

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Copyright © 2019 Rubin et al.

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