Transgenerational Plasticity in Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus): An Analysis of Maternal and Paternal Effects in Association with Edaphic Variation
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Edaphic conditions are an important component in the overall environment experienced by individual plants and their resultant progeny. For annual, sessile organisms, response to soil conditions and variability across generations is an essential element of living in a patchy environment. Transgenerational plasticity involves maternal or paternal induction of the offspring phenotype based upon the environmental conditions experienced in the parental generation and provides a possible response mechanism for variable environments across generations. To assess the presence of transgenerational plasticity in the form of maternal and paternal effects, three generations of Mimulus guttatus were introduced to chemical solutions mimicking the calcium and magnesium of serpentine and nonserpentine edaphic environments. Maternal effects were significant in early growth and persisted through reproduction. Paternal effects were significant only in early growth. Transgenerational plasticity therefore may provide an evolutionary mechanism for M. guttatus to respond to variable edaphic conditions across generations.