Evolution of Cold Acclimation and Its Role in Niche Transition in the Temperate Grass Subfamily Pooideae

Plant Physiology
Marian SchubertSiri Fjellheim


The grass subfamily Pooideae dominates the grass floras in cold temperate regions and has evolved complex physiological adaptations to cope with extreme environmental conditions like frost, winter, and seasonality. One such adaptation is cold acclimation, wherein plants increase their frost tolerance in response to gradually falling temperatures and shorter days in the autumn. However, understanding how complex traits like cold acclimation evolve remains a major challenge in evolutionary biology. Here, we investigated the evolution of cold acclimation in Pooideae and found that a phylogenetically diverse set of Pooideae species displayed cold acclimation capacity. However, comparing differential gene expression after cold treatment in transcriptomes of five phylogenetically diverse species revealed widespread species-specific responses of genes with conserved sequences. Furthermore, we studied the correlation between gene family size and number of cold-responsive genes as well as between selection pressure on coding sequences of genes and their cold responsiveness. We saw evidence of protein-coding and regulatory sequence evolution as well as the origin of novel genes and functions contributing toward evolution of a cold respon...Continue Reading


Sep 15, 2020·Plant, Cell & Environment·Ryan A FolkDouglas E Soltis
Aug 14, 2021·The Plant Cell·Jeremy Pardo, Robert VanBuren

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