The pulse of the tree is under genetic control: Eucalyptus as a case study

Bartholome Jérôme, Mabiala André, Burlett Régis, Bert Didier, Leplé Jean-Charles, Plomion Christophe, Gion Jean-Marc. 2020. The pulse of the tree is under genetic control: Eucalyptus as a case study. Plant Journal, 103 (1) : pp. 338-356.

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Abstract : The pulse of the tree (diurnal cycle of stem radius fluctuations) has been widely studied as a way of analyzing tree responses to the environment, including the phenotypic plasticity of tree–water relationships in particular. However, the genetic basis of this daily phenotype and its interplay with the environment remain largely unexplored. We characterized the genetic and environmental determinants of this response, by monitoring daily stem radius fluctuation (dSRF) on 210 trees from a Eucalyptus urophylla × E. grandis full‐sib family over 2 years. The dSRF signal was broken down into hydraulic capacitance, assessed as the daily amplitude of shrinkage (DA), and net growth, estimated as the change in maximum radius between two consecutive days (ΔR ). The environmental determinants of these two traits were clearly different: DA was positively correlated with atmospheric variables relating to water demand, while ΔR was associated with soil water content. The heritability for these two traits ranged from low to moderate over time, revealing a time‐dependent or environment‐dependent complex genetic determinism. We identified 686 and 384 daily quantitative trait loci (QTL) representing 32 and 31 QTL regions for DA and ΔR , respectively. The identification of gene networks underlying the 27 major genomics regions for both traits generated additional hypotheses concerning the biological mechanisms involved in response to water demand and supply. This study highlights that environmentally induced changes in daily stem radius fluctuation are genetically controlled in trees and suggests that these daily responses integrated over time shape the genetic architecture of mature traits.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Eucalyptus, Rythme biologique, Rythme circadien, Physiologie végétale, Variation phénotypique, Plasticité phénotypique, Tronc, Réponse de la plante, Environnement, natural environment [EN], Héritabilité génotypique

Mots-clés complémentaires : QTL

Mots-clés libres : Daily stem radius fluctuations, Quantitative trait locus (QTL), QTL‐by‐environment interaction, Phenotypic plasticity, Diurnal cycles, Heritability, Gene network, Eucalyptus, Dendrometer

Classification Agris : F60 - Plant physiology and biochemistry

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 7 (2019-) - Hors champs stratégiques

Agence(s) de financement européenne(s) : European Commission

Programme de financement européen : H2020

Projet(s) de financement européen(s) : Adaptive BREEDING for productive, sustainable and resilient FORESTs under climate change

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Bartholome Jérôme, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR AGAP (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0002-0855-3828
  • Mabiala André, CRDPI (COG)
  • Burlett Régis, Université de Bordeaux (FRA)
  • Bert Didier, INRAE (FRA)
  • Leplé Jean-Charles, INRAE (FRA)
  • Plomion Christophe, INRAE (FRA)
  • Gion Jean-Marc, CIRAD-BIOS-UMR AGAP (FRA) - auteur correspondant

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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