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Time dynamics of stress legacy in clonal transgenerational effects: a case study on Trifolium repens
  • Jiaxin Quan,
  • Zuzana Münzbergová,
  • Vit Latzel
Jiaxin Quan
Northwest University

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Zuzana Münzbergová
Botanicky ustav AV CR
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Vit Latzel
Czech Academy of Sciences
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Stress can be remembered by plants in a form of stress legacy that can alter future phenotypes of previously stressed plants and even phenotypes of their offspring. DNA methylation belongs among the mechanisms mediating the stress legacy. It is however not known for how long the stress legacy is carried by plants. If the legacy is long lasting, it can become maladaptive in situations when parental-offspring environments do not match. We investigated for how long after the last exposure of a parental plant to drought can the phenotype of its clonal offspring be altered. We grew parental plants of three genotypes of Trifolium repens for five months either in control conditions or in control conditions that were interrupted with intense drought periods applied for two months in four different time-slots. We also treated half of the parental plants with a demethylating agent (5-azaC) to test for the potential role of DNA methylation in the stress legacy. Then, we transplanted parental cuttings (ramets) individually to control environment and allowed them to produce offspring ramets for two months. The drought stress experienced by parents affected phenotypes of offspring ramets. The stress legacy resulted in enhanced number of offspring ramets originating from parents that experienced drought stress even 8 weeks before their transplantation to the control environment. 5-azaC altered transgenerational effects on offspring ramets. We confirmed that drought stress can trigger transgenerational effect in T. repens that is very likely mediated by DNA methylation. Most importantly, the stress legacy in parental plants persisted for at least 8 weeks suggesting that the stress legacy can persist in a clonal plant Trifolium repens for relatively long period. We suggest that the stress legacy should be considered in future ecological studies on clonal plants.
02 Dec 2021Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
07 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
07 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
09 Dec 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
03 Jan 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 Jan 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
01 May 20221st Revision Received
02 May 2022Submission Checks Completed
02 May 2022Assigned to Editor
02 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
05 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
May 2022Published in Ecology and Evolution volume 12 issue 5. 10.1002/ece3.8959