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Crops and Wild Relatives

Rubin, Matthew [1], Bhakta, Niyati [2], Cassetta, Eric [3], Corya, Ellen [4], Cyr, Maxwell [2], Frawley, Emma [5], Pinkner, Leah [2], Turner, Kathryn [6], Van Tassel, David [7], Miller, Allison [8].

Predicting plant performance in the field based on seed and seedling traits measured under controlled conditions.

Understanding patterns of trait variation and covariation over space and time is a fundamental goal of biology. Relationships among traits, trait covariation, can provide insights into the strength and direction of both natural selection in wild populations and artificial selection in breeding programs. Growing interest in diversifying agriculture to meet both economic and ecological goals has refocused attention on wild, perennial, herbaceous species as candidates for domestication. One approach for expediting the evaluation of perennial, herbaceous candidate species has been to look for traits expressed early in a plant’s lifespan that might be predictive of plant performance in the field. Here, we focus on the deep-rooted oil seed candidate species Silphium integrifolium (Asteraceae) and assess the extent to which traits measured in early life stages (seeds, seedlings) covary with traits expressed at maturity. We generated phenotypic data from16 wild-collected populations of S. integrifolium (Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Wisconsin) and three improved populations. We included a minimum of seven individuals from each population; in addition, we included 20 individuals from two populations. This design allowed us to test for correlations both across all populations, as well as within the two populations with increased replication. Under controlled conditions, at the Danforth Plant Science Center (St. Louis, MO), we comprehensively phenotyped early life-stage traits including: seed weight and morphology, static estimates of plant size and growth rate over multiple intervals over 5-weeks, above and below-ground biomass, leaf ionomic profiling, and leaf spectral taits. We then transplanted the plants into our perennial common garden at the Shaw Nature Reserve (Gray Summit, MO) and measured overwinter survival, flowering time, descriptors of plant health, head number, and viable and total seed number per head from which we estimated total seed number per plant. Preliminary analyses suggest patterns of trait covariation vary depending on the scale of relatedness (within vs across populations). Moreover, we identified significant correlations between early life stage traits measured under controlled conditions and performance traits measured in the field. This study provides critical insights into trait covariation within and across populations throughout the multi-year lifespan, and offers criteria for early stage selection that may expedite the development of perennial alternatives to major grain crops.

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1 - Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, 975 North Warson Road, Miller Lab, St. Louis, MO, 63132, United States
2 - Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, Miller Lab, 975 North Warson Road, St. Louis, MO, 63132, USA
3 - The Land Institute , 2440 E Water Well Road, Salina, KS, 67401 , USA
4 - Saint Louis University, Biology, 3507 Laclede Avenue, Macelwane Hall, St. Louis, MO, 63110, USA
5 - Washington University In St. Louis, Biology, 1 Brookings Drive, McDonnell Hall, St. Louis, MO, 63130, United States
6 - The Land Institute , 2440 E Water Well Road,, Salina, KS, 67401, USA
7 - The Land Institute, 2440 E Water Well Rd,, Salina, KS, 67401, United States
8 - Saint Louis Univ./Danforth Plant Science Center, Biology, 3507 Laclede Avenue, Macelwane Hall, St. Louis, MO, 63110, United States

Trait covariation
Silphium integrifolium
Trait correlations.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: CW1, Crops and Wild Relatives I
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 2:00 PM(EDT)
Number: CW1005
Abstract ID:691
Candidate for Awards:None

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