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Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology

Williams, Brigette [1], Miller, Allison [2], Edwards, Christine [3].

Understanding the role of epigenetics and phenotypic plasticity in shaping variation in geographic range size in the geographically restricted genus, Leavenworthia.

The epigenome is hypothesized to have a role in phenotypic plasticity and response to environmental variation, which may affect the range of environmental conditions that a species can occupy and thus, its geographic range size. In this study, we investigate the relationships among genetic variation, epigenetic variation, phenotypic plasticity, and geographic range size in two species of Leavenworthia. Leavenworthia uniflora is a widespread species that is distributed across the Central Basin of North America; it is a selfing species that has its genetic variation structured primarily among populations and has very little within-population genetic diversity. Leavenworthia exigua var. laciniata is a rare and endangered species that is currently found in only two counties in Kentucky; it has no measurable genetic diversity across its narrow geographic range. We grew genotypes of the two species in a growth chamber experiment with two experimental treatments (well watered and drought conditions). The goals of this study were to compare the effects of population origin, treatment, and their interaction on phenotypic traits in the two species and to analyze how they are related to epigenetic variation. Results show that despite being genetically invariant across its range, L. exigua var. laciniata show significant among-population differences in phenotypic traits, potentially as the result of stable epigenetic variation among populations. The two species differ significantly in phenotypic plasticity in response to water regime for a range of traits, with the narrowly distributed L. exigua var. laciniata showing no plasticity and the widely distributed L. uniflora showing significant variation among genotypes in plasticity for a range of vegetative and phenological traits. We also present associations between these traits and epigenetic variation. These result show that epigenetic variation may have important effects on phenotypic variation and geographic range size.

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Related Links:
Missouri Botanical Garden Conservation Genetics
Saint Louis University, Miller Lab

1 - Saint Louis University, Biology, Biology Extension Building, 1008 S. Spring Ave., Saint Louis, MO, 63103, USA
2 - Saint Louis University, Biology, St. Louis, Biology Extension Building, Saint Louis, MO, 63108, United States
3 - Missouri Botanical Garden, Center for Conservation and Sustainable Development, 4651 Shaw Blvd., Saint Louis, MO, 63110, USA

phenotypic plasticity
conservation epigenetics
DNA methylation
Quantitative Genetics
plant conservation.

Presentation Type: Poster
Session: P, Molecular Ecology
Location: Grand Ballroom - Exhibit Hall/Mayo Civic Center
Date: Monday, July 23rd, 2018
Time: 5:30 PM This poster will be presented at 6:15 pm. The Poster Session runs from 5:30 pm to 7:00 pm. Posters with odd poster numbers are presented at 5:30 pm, and posters with even poster numbers are presented at 6:15 pm.
Number: PME004
Abstract ID:881
Candidate for Awards:None

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