Testing the effects of heterozygosity on growth rate plasticity in the seaweed Gracilaria chilensis (Rhodophyta)
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Heterozygosity has been positively associated with fitness and population survival. However, the relationship between heterozygosity and adaptive phenotypic plasticity (i.e., plasticity which results in fitness homeostasis or improvement in changing environments) is unclear and has been poorly explored in seaweeds. In this study, we explored this relationship in the clonal red seaweed, Gracilaria chilensis by conducting three growth rate plasticity experiments under contrasting salinity conditions and by measuring heterozygosity with five microsatellite DNA markers. Firstly, we compared growth rate plasticity between the haploid and diploid phases. Secondly, we compared growth rate plasticity between diploids with different numbers of heterozygous loci. Finally, we compared growth rate plasticity between diploid plants from two populations that are expected to exhibit significant differences in heterozygosity. We found that, (i) diploids displayed a higher growth rate and lower growth rate plasticity than haploids, (ii) diploids with a higher number of heterozygous loci displayed lower growth rate plasticity than those exhibiting less heterozygosity, and (iii) diploid sporophytes from the population with higher heterozygosity displayed lower growth rate plasticity than those with lower heterozygosity. Accordingly, this study suggests that heterozygosity is inversely related to growth rate plasticity in G.chilensis. However, better genetic tools in seaweeds are required for a more definitive conclusion on the relationship between heterozygosity and phenotypic plasticity.
Artículo de publicación ISI
Cita del ítemEcology and Evolution Volumen: 8 Número: 11 Páginas: 5741-5751
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