Phenotypic plasticity of leaf shape in selected and semi-domesticated genotypes as new tool of Argania spinosa L. Skeels breeding

Ilham Rahmouni, Siham Oumouss, Ghizlane Tobi, Najib Bendaou, Mohammed Bouksaim, Yasmina El Bahloul


Article Details: Received: 2020-03-28 | Accepted: 2020-05-22 | Available online: 2020-09-30

Leaves are part of the plant organs that are important to sustain its life. These organs are sensitive to climate changes and may present phenotypic plasticity in response to environmental conditions. However, affirmation of the leaves morphological plasticity and their regulation in different environments is still little studied up to date. In the present research, we evaluated performance of 20 different groups of Argania spinosa (L.) Skeels genotypes (half-sibling). Each group contains 3 half-sibs. Genotype × environment interactions (GxE) were evaluated as well, for shape and size leaves. To perform this, geometric morphometric principles were applied to analyze genotypes morphology in three locations (Central, North-Western and South-Western of Morocco). Univariate and multivariate analysis was used for data analysis. Results showed significant variation of symmetric and asymmetric components for genotypes, half-sibling and location with relatively high variation coefficient (ca 60%). Shape and size differences among genotypes, suggest that they were the main source in leaf morphology variation. Canonical Variate Analysis of leaf shapes reveals that the regions are clearly distinct from each other. For symmetric component analysis, Mahalanobis distances values among locations reached 35.53 between South-Western and North-Western locations, 21.88 North-Western and Central locations and 18.29 for South-Western and Central location. The differentiation between the groups using the Canonical Variations value showed a significant effect of the environment on the studied argan tree genotypes. Small leaves and narrow blades were observed in Central location compared to others. However, leaves originated from South-Western location had mainly an ovate shape. The same genotypes presented a high spectrum of shape variation varying from obovate to ovate in the other regions. This study highlights the strong correspondence between leaf morphology and genotype within different environments, and demonstrates that GxE interaction shave an impact to take into consideration in breeding programs.

Keywords: adaptation, Argania spinosa, environment, genotype, geometric morphometrics, leaf morphology


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