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The Park Grass Experiment and next-generation approaches: local adaptation of sweet vernal grass revisited

von Wettberg, E.J.B., Vance, W. and Rowland, D.L. (2014) The Park Grass Experiment and next-generation approaches: local adaptation of sweet vernal grass revisited. Molecular Ecology, 23 (24). pp. 5931-5933.

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Long-term ecological experiments provide unique opportunities to observe the effects of natural selection. The Park Grass Experiment at Rothamsted Experiment Station in Hertfordshire, UK, is the longest running ecological experiment that incorporates fertilization treatments and has been ongoing since 1856. In the 1970s, local adaptation was observed in the grass Anthoxanthum odoratum to the elevated soil aluminium levels of the fertilized plots. Gould et al. () have utilized this system to reevaluate the extent of local adaptation, first documented nearly 45 years ago (Snaydon), and to use emerging molecular approaches to identify candidate genes for the adaptation. From their work, they identify several plausible candidate loci for aluminium tolerance. This work shows the power of long-term field-based trials in a scientific age concentrated on rapidly emerging molecular techniques often utilized in short, narrowly focused laboratory or controlled environment experiments. The current study clearly illustrates the benefits gained by combining these molecular approaches within long-term monitoring experiments that can be regularly revisited in a changing world and used to address questions on evolutionary scales.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
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