Abstracts (first author)
Pronounced maternal effect on hybrid gene expression in ArabidopsisPDF
Understanding how hybridization influences phenotype is of major importance for evolutionary biology. Theoretically, phenotypic differences are expected to be controlled mainly by gene regulation, which can be environmentally or genetically determined. However, until recently it has been difficult to accurately measure expression levels and determine whether hybrid gene expression are caused by additive (intermediate expression levels between the parents), dominance (expression levels equal to one of the parents) or parental effects (gene expression similar to that of either the mother or the father). Here we use high throughput RNA-sequencing (Illumina) to test the different expression hypotheses and evaluate gene expression in hybrids between two differentiated populations of Arabidopsis lyrata. Our results showed (i) broad differential expression between populations (9573 significant genes) and (ii) a very strong maternal effect on hybrid gene expression (94.7% of genes followed the expression of the mother rather than the father plant). In plants, where seed dispersal is limited and the developing seedlings will experience similar environmental conditions as their mothers, such maternal effects are expected to be highly beneficial as they can facilitate local adaptation.