Differences in heat tolerance, water use efficiency and growth among Douglas-fir families and varieties evidenced by GWAS and common garden studies

Samuel Compton, Charles Stackpole, Aalap Dixit, Manoj K. Sekhwal, Thomas Kolb, Amanda R. De la Torre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Severe and frequent heat and drought events challenge the survival and development of long-generation trees. In this study, we investigated the genomic basis of heat tolerance, water use efficiency and growth by performing genome-wide association studies in coastal Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) and intervarietal (menziesii × glauca) hybrid seedlings. GWAS results identified 32 candidate genes involved in primary and secondary metabolism, abiotic stress and signaling, among other functions. Water use efficiency (inferred from carbon isotope discrimination), photosynthetic capacity (inferred from %N), height and heat tolerance (inferred from electrolyte leakage in a heat stress experiment) were significantly different among Douglas-fir families and varieties. High-elevation seed sources had increased water use efficiency, which could be a result of higher photosynthetic capacity. Similarly, families with greater heat tolerance also had higher water use efficiency and slower growth, suggesting a conservative growth strategy. Intervarietal hybrids showed increased heat tolerance (lower electrolyte leakage at 50 and 55 °C) and higher water use efficiency compared with coastal families, suggesting that hybridization might be a source of pre-adapted alleles to warming climates and should be considered for large-scale reforestation projects under increasingly arid conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberplad008
JournalAoB PLANTS
Volume15
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1 2023

Keywords

  • Douglas-fir
  • GWAS
  • Water use efficiency
  • carbon isotope discrimination
  • electrolytic leakage
  • heat tolerance
  • hybridization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science

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