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Abstract Detail


Lundgren, Marjorie [1], Christin, Pascal-Antoine [2], Osborne, Colin [2].

Physiological transitions during the evolution of C4 photosynthesis.

The distinct leaf anatomy and biochemistry associated with C3 and C4 modes of photosynthesis have physiological consequences. Recent work suggests that the individual leaf anatomical and biochemical components of C4 photosynthesis accumulate gradually across a gradient of intermediate phenotypes during C4 evolution. Thus, it follows that the components of C4 physiology may assemble in leaps, after sets of anatomical and biochemical components are in place. To elucidate the patterns of physiological transitions across the C3 to C4 evolutionary continuum, we used the remarkable intraspecific photosynthetic diversity naturally present in the wild grass Alloteropsis semialata, which contains C3, C4, and C3-C4 intermediate phenotypes that evolved and diversified recently. We compared leaf-level physiology across 24 diverse populations to identify properties that are consistently associated with the C4 state. The intraspecific physiology of A. semialata is placed within a larger context via comparisons with the physiology of closely related C3 and independently evolved C4 grass species. This work sought to distinguish the direct consequences of evolutionary transitions in photosynthetic type from those properties that are present in only some C4 populations, and therefore likely evolved only after C4 physiology emerged to help to optimize the C4 system and/or tolerate a broader range of environments. Indeed, we found that some physiological benefits typically associated with C4 photosynthesis arise only after the pathway emerges, via secondary adaptations.

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Related Links:
Lundgren Lab Website
Christin Lab Website
Osborne Lab Website

1 - Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre, Farrer Avenue, Bailrigg, LAN, LA1 4YQ, United Kingdom
2 - University of Sheffield, Animal and Plant Sciences, Sheffield, UK

C4 photosynthesis
C3-C4 intermediate
Trait evolution

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: PHYS, Physiology
Location: /
Date: Wednesday, July 21st, 2021
Time: 11:00 AM(EDT)
Number: PHYS005
Abstract ID:367
Candidate for Awards:None

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