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Cadmium hyperaccumulation and genetic differentiation of Thlaspi caerulescens populations
Biochemical Systematics and Ecology
Although the knowledge on heavy metal hyperaccumulation mechanisms is increasing, the genetic basis of cadmium (Cd) hyperaccurnulation remains to be elucidated. Thlaspi caerulescens is an attractive model since Cd accumulation polymorphism observed in this species suggests genetic differences between populations with low versus high Cd hyperaccumulation capacities. In our study, a methodology is proposed to analyse at a regional scale the genetic differentiation of T. caerulescens natural populations in relation to Cd hyperaccumulation capacity while controlling for different environmental, soil, plant parameters and geographic origins of populations. Twenty-two populations were characterised with AFLP markers and cpDNA polymorphism. Over all loci, a partial Mantel test showed no significant genetic structure with regard to the Cd hyperaccumulation capacity. Nevertheless, when comparing the marker variation to a neutral model, seven AFLP fragments (9% of markers) were identified as presenting particularly high genetic differentiation between populations with low and high Cd hyperaccurnulation capacity. Using simulations, the number of outlier loci was showed to be significantly higher than expected at random. These loci presented a genetic structure linked to Cd hyperaccumulation capacity independently of the geography, environment, soil parameters and Zn, Pb, Fe and Cu concentrations in plants. Using a canonical correspondence analysis, we identified three of them as particularly related to the Cd hyperaccumutation capacity. This study demonstrates that populations with low and high hyperaccurnulation capacities can be significantly distinguished based on molecular data. Further investigations with candidate genes and mapped markers may allow identification and characterization of genomic regions linked to factors involved in Cd hyperaccumulation.
amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP), cadmium (Cd), genetic differentiation, hyperaccumulation, outlier loci, Thlaspi caerulescens
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