Arabidopsis thaliana is the model plant and is grown worldwide by plant biologists seeking to dissect the molecular underpinning of plant growth and development. Gene copy number variation (CNV) is a common form of genome natural diversity that is currently poorly studied in plants and may have broad implications for model organism research, evolutionary biology, and crop science. Herein, comparative genomic hybridization (CGH) was used to identify and interrogate regions of gene CNV across the A. thaliana genome. A common temperature condition used for growth of A. thaliana in our laboratory and many around the globe is 22 degrees C. The current study sought to test whether A. thaliana, grown under different temperature (16 and 28 degrees C) and stress regimes (salicylic acid spray) for five generations, selecting for fecundity at each generation, displayed any differences in CNV relative to a plant lineage growing under normal conditions. Three siblings from each alternative temperature or stress lineage were also compared with the reference genome (22 degrees C) by CGH to determine repetitive and nonrepetitive CNVs. Findings document exceptional rates of CNV in the genome of A. thaliana over immediate family generational scales. A propensity for duplication and nonrepetitive CNVs was documented in 28 degrees C CGH, which was correlated with the greatest plant stress and infers a potential CNV-environmental interaction. A broad diversity of gene species were observed within CNVs, but transposable elements and biotic stress response genes were notably overrepresented as a proportion of total genes and genes initiating CNVs. Results support a model whereby segmental CNV and the genes encoded within these regions contribute to adaptive capacity of plants through natural genome variation.

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Published in Genome Biology and Evolution, v. 2, p. 441-453.

© The Author(s) 2010. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.5), which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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