Gene or environment? Species-specific control of stomatal density and length

Authors

  • Lirong Zhang,

    1. Department of Resource and Environment, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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  • Haishan Niu,

    1. Department of Resource and Environment, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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  • Shiping Wang,

    1. Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
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  • Xiaoxue Zhu,

    1. Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Institute of Northwest Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai, China
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  • Caiyun Luo,

    1. Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Institute of Northwest Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai, China
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  • Yingnian Li,

    1. Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Institute of Northwest Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai, China
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  • Xinquan Zhao

    1. Key Laboratory of Adaptation and Evolution of Plateau Biota, Institute of Northwest Plateau Biology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Xining 810008, Qinghai, China
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  • This research was funded by the National Basic Research Program in China (2010CB833502), the Special Program of Carbon Sequestration of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (XDA05070205), grants from the “Talents Program” of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Special Supports by Bureau of Science and Technology for Resource and Environment of CAS (KZCX2-EW-QN604).

  • Ecology and Evolution 2012; 2(5): 1065–1070

Haishan Niu, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China. Tel: 86-10-88256371; Fax: 86-10-88256415; E-mail: niuhs@gucas.ac.cn

Abstract

Stomatal characteristics are used as proxies of paleo-environment. Only a few model species have been used to study the mechanisms of genetic and environmental effects on stomatal initiation. Variation among species has not been quantified. In this paper, results from an in situ reciprocal transplant experiment along an elevation gradient in the northeast Tibetan Plateau are reported, in which the relative effects of genetics (original altitude) and environment (transplant altitude) on stomatal density (SD) and length (SL) were quantified. In Thalictrum alpinum, only the environment significantly influenced SD, with the variance component (inline image) of the environment found to be much greater than that of genetics (inline image) (inline image). In Kobresia humillis, only genetics significantly influenced SD and SL, with the genetics variance component found to be greater than that of the environment (inline image, for SD). These results suggest that the extent to which genetics and the environment determine stomatal initiation and development is species-specific. This needs to be considered when studying genetic or environmental controls of stomatal initiation, as well as when SD and SL are used as proxies for ancient climate factors (e.g., CO2 concentration).

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