Tissue culture as a source of replicates in nonmodel plants: Variation in cold response in Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea

Tanaka Kenta, Jessica E.M. Edwards, Roger K. Butlin, Terry Burke, W. Paul Quick, Peter Urwin, Matthew P. Davey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


While genotype-environment interaction is increasingly receiving attention by ecologists and evolutionary biologists, such studies need genetically homogeneous replicates-a challenging hurdle in outcrossing plants. This could be potentially overcome by using tissue culture techniques. However, plants regenerated from tissue culture may show aberrant phenotypes and "somaclonal" variation. Here, we examined somaclonal variation due to tissue culturing using the response to cold treatment of photosynthetic efficiency (chlorophyll fluorescence measurements for Fv/Fm, Fv'/Fm', and ΦPSII, representing maximum efficiency of photosynthesis for dark- and lightadapted leaves, and the actual electron transport operating efficiency, respectively, which are reliable indicators of photoinhibition and damage to the photosynthetic electron transport system). We compared this to variation among half-sibling seedlings from three different families of Arabidopsis lyrata ssp. petraea. Somaclonal variation was limited, and we could detect within-family variation in change in chlorophyll fluorescence due to cold shock successfully with the help of tissue-culture derived replicates. Icelandic and Norwegian families exhibited higher chlorophyll fluorescence, suggesting higher performance after cold shock, than a Swedish family. Although the main effect of tissue culture on Fv/Fm, Fv'/Fm', and ΦPSII was small, there were significant interactions between tissue culture and family, suggesting that the effect of tissue culture is genotype-specific. Tissue-cultured plantlets were less affected by cold treatment than seedlings, but to a different extent in each family. These interactive effects, however, were comparable to, or much smaller than the single effect of family. These results suggest that tissue culture is a useful method for obtaining genetically homogenous replicates for studying genotype-environment interaction related to adaptively-relevant phenotypes, such as cold response, in nonmodel outcrossing plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3817-3823
Number of pages7
JournalG3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics
Issue number12
Early online date7 Dec 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Dec 2016


  • Adaptive variation
  • Genetic architecture Genetic basis
  • Reaction norm
  • Stress tolerance


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