Epigenetic diversity increases the productivity and stability of plant populations

Latzel, Vít; Allan, Eric; Silveira, Amanda Bortolini; Colot, Vincent; Fischer, Markus; Bossdorf, Oliver (2013). Epigenetic diversity increases the productivity and stability of plant populations. Nature communications, 4(2875), pp. 1-7. Nature Publishing Group 10.1038/ncomms3875

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Biological diversity within species can be an important driver of population and ecosystem functioning. Until now, such within-species diversity effects have been attributed to underlying variation in DNA sequence. However, within-species differences, and thus potentially functional biodiversity, can also be created by epigenetic variation. Here, we show that epigenetic diversity increases the productivity and stability of plant populations. Epigenetically diverse populations of Arabidopsis thaliana produce up to 40% more biomass than epigenetically uniform populations. The positive epigenetic diversity effects are strongest when populations are grown together with competitors and infected with pathogens, and they seem to be partly driven by complementarity among epigenotypes. Our study has two implications: first, we may need to re-evaluate previous within-species diversity studies where some effects could reflect epigenetic diversity; second, we need to incorporate epigenetics into basic ecological research, by quantifying natural epigenetic diversity and testing for its ecological consequences across many different species.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Plant Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Biodiversity

UniBE Contributor:

Latzel, Vít; Allan, Eric; Fischer, Markus and Bossdorf, Oliver

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

2041-1723

Publisher:

Nature Publishing Group

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

21 Feb 2014 11:04

Last Modified:

02 Oct 2015 12:45

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/ncomms3875

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.40908

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/40908

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