Bases genéticas y moleculares de la variación natural del desarrollo vegetal

Plant Developmental Biology
Centro Nacional de Biotecnología CSIC (CNB)

The last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) has demonstrated that many natural systems are currently affected by strong regional climate changes. In particular, the most important changing climate factor is temperature. Based on 23 climate models, the IPCC has estimated an average increase of 1.5-4 °C for year 2100, depending on the gas emission scenario. Flowering time is the main trait that has been demonstrated to show a response associated to climate change and its acceleration provides an alternative to escape from unfavourable environmental conditions (Willis et al., 2008; Loarie et al., 2009). Nevertheless, this reproductive acceleration might lead to yield reduction due to a shorter vegetative developmental phase (Craufurd and Wheeler, 2009).

Up to now, there are more than 150 different genes known to participate in the regulation of flowering in several species, many of which are conserved even between phylogenetically distant species. This indicates the conservation of the general mechanisms involved in the genetic regulation of flowering in seeded plants (reviewed in Alonso-Blanco et al., 2009; Jung and Müller, 2009). The temporal regulation of flowering initiation is precisely achieved by plants, by using the environmental signals that fluctuate seasonally along the year. Light (photoperiod) and temperature (vernalization) are the best known factors that participate in this regulation (Ausín et al., 2005).

Our laboratory has recently identified the Flowering Plasticity Locus (FPL) FPL4 as a locus involved in flowering time regulation by temperature and photoperiod (Mendez-Vigo et al., 2016). Low level genetic mapping indicates that this is a new locus because it is located in a genomic region where there is no previously known gene involved in this process. The general objective of this project is to fine map a this new flowering time locus, FPL4, and to search for candidate genes for it. To this end, in this project we will analyse an F2 population segregating for the two natural alleles of FPL4 for its flowering phenotype and for molecular markers around the locus. New genetic markers will be developed from comparison between the genome sequences of both parental accessions.