Global warming may diminish plant genetic variety in Central Europe

phys.org | 9/1/2019 | Staff
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Plant genetic varieties in Central Europe could collapse due to temperature extremes and drought brought on by climate change. According to a new paper, only a few individuals of a species have already adapted to extreme climate conditions. These findings suggest that the overall species genetic diversity could be greatly diminished. The publication was led by Moises Exposito-Alonso, who joins Carnegie next month from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology and the University of California Berkeley.

An international team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, University of Tübingen, Technical University of Madrid, and UC Berkeley studied populations of the thale cress plant, Arabidopsis thaliana, collected from over 500 geographic locations in Europe, commonly used for biological research. Growing these plants in Spain and Germany under dry conditions revealed how individual plants responded to heat and drought.

Investigators - Blend - Mutations - Individuals - Species

The investigators were particularly interested in how the unique blend of genetic mutations enables the different individuals of the same species to resist experimentally simulated climates. As some of these mutations may confer physiological advantages, the main goal of this study was to rank their fitness for the future survival of the species.

This data was then combined with models predicting how temperatures and precipitation are...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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