SPP 1530: Flowering Time Control - from Natural Variation to Crop Improvement

PP-4: de Meaux

Is the immune system required to adapt to flowering time change ?

In crops, decoupling flowering time and defense is sometimes problematic so that breeding for resistance messes up flowering time and vice versa. In our recent research, we found that flowering time and basal immunity correlate in A. thaliana. Theoretical models indicate that variation in life-span can modulate the balance between fitness costs and benefits of immune responses. This project proposes to identify whether flowering time and immunity are linked by genetic or evolutionary constraints. Field experiments will be performed to measure fitness, and contrast fitness variation with variation in the transcriptome in various genetic settings allowing the measurement of immune investment, flowering time and yield. Fundaments will be investigated in A. thaliana and findings will be validated in the crop systems tomato and potato. This study will have implications both for illuminating cross-talks between flowering time and defense networks and for designing sustainable breeding strategies.


Project-related publications:

Hu JY, Zhou Y, He F, Dong X, Liu LY, Coupland G, Turck F, de Meaux J (2014). MiR824-regulated AGAMOUS-LIKE-16 contributes to flowering-time repression in Arabidopsis thaliana. Plant Cell, doi:

Falke KC, Glander S, He F, Hu J, de Meaux J, Schmitz G (2013). The spectrum of mutations controlling complex traits and the genetics of fitness in plants. Curr Opin Genet Dev 23 (6):665-71

Debieu M, Tang C, Stich B, Sikosek T, Effgen S, Josephs E, Schmitt J, Nordborg M, Koornneef M, de Meaux J (2013). Co-variation between seed dormancy, growth rate and flowering time changes with latitude in Arabidopsis thaliana. PLoS One 8 (5), doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0061075

Vetter MM, Kronholm I, He F, Haweker H, Reymond M, Kronholm I, Bergelson J, Robatzek S, de Meaux J (2012). Flagellin Perception Varies Quantitatively in Arabidopsis thaliana and Its Relatives. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29(6), doi:  10.1093/molbev/mss011

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