Indexed on: 28 Sep '07Published on: 28 Sep '07Published in: Plant, Cell & Environment
Multiple environmental cues regulate the transition to flowering. In natural environments, plants perceive seasonal progression by changes in day length and growth temperature, and plant density is monitored by changes in the light quality reflected from neighbouring vegetation. To understand the seasonal and plant-density dependence associated with natural allelic variation in flowering time, we conducted a quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping study in Ler x Cvi, Bay x Sha and Ler x No-0 recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations of Arabidopsis thaliana. Days and total leaf number to bolting were examined under low and high plant density (200 or 1600 plants m(-2)) in autumn-winter and spring seasons. We found between 4 and 10 QTLs associated with seasonal and density variations in each RIL population. For Ler x Cvi and Bay x Sha RIL populations, a major proportion of QTLs showed seasonal and density interaction (up to 63%) and four QTLs were common to all environments (21%). Only three QTLs showed seasonal or density dependency. By aligning the linkage maps onto a common physical map, we detected at least one QTL at chromosome 2 and two QTLs at chromosome 5 that overlap between the three RIL populations, suggesting that these QTLs play a crucial role in the adaptive control of flowering time.