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Proc Biol Sci ; 289(1981): 20220065, 2022 08 31.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2037618


Transgenerational plasticity is a form of non-genetic inheritance that can reduce or enhance offspring fitness depending on parental stress. Yet, the adaptive value of such parental environmental effects and whether their expression varies among populations remain largely unknown. We used self-fertilized lines from climatically distinct populations of the crop wild relative Lupinus angustifolius. In the parental generation, full-siblings were grown in two contrasting watering environments. Then, to robustly separate the within-generation and transgenerational response to drought, we reciprocally assigned the offspring of parents to the same experimental treatments. We measured key functional traits and assessed lifetime reproductive fitness. Offspring of drought-stressed parents produced less reproductive biomass, but a similar number of lighter seeds, in dry soil compared to offspring of genetically identical, well-watered parents, an effect not mediated by differences in seed provisioning. Importantly, while the offspring of parents grown in the favourable environment responded to drought by slightly increasing individual seed mass, the pattern of plasticity of the offspring of drought-grown parents showed the opposite direction, and the negative effects of parental drought on seed mass were more pronounced in populations from cooler and moist habitats. Overall, our results show that parental effects may override immediate adaptive responses to drought and provide evidence of population-level variation in the expression of transgenerational plasticity.

Adaptation, Physiological , Droughts , Ecosystem , Seeds/physiology , Soil