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  1. Abstract Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are integral for studying genotype-phenotype relationships and gaining a deeper understanding of the genetic architecture underlying trait variation. A plethora of genetic associations between distinct loci and various traits have been successfully discovered and published for the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. This success and the free availability of full genomes and phenotypic data for more than 1,000 different natural inbred lines led to the development of several data repositories. AraPheno (https://arapheno.1001genomes.org) serves as a central repository of population-scale phenotypes in A. thaliana, while the AraGWAS Catalog (https://aragwas.1001genomes.org) provides a publicly available, manually curated and standardized collection of marker-trait associations for all available phenotypes from AraPheno. In this major update, we introduce the next generation of both platforms, including new data, features and tools. We included novel results on associations between knockout-mutations and all AraPheno traits. Furthermore, AraPheno has been extended to display RNA-Seq data for hundreds of accessions, providing expression information for over 28 000 genes for these accessions. All data, including the imputed genotype matrix used for GWAS, are easily downloadable via the respective databases.
  2. Water shortages caused by droughts lead to crop losses that affect billions of people around the world each year. By discovering how wild plants adapt to drought, it may be possible to identify traits and genes that help to improve the growth of crop plants when water is scarce. It has been suggested that plants have adapted to droughts by flowering at times of the year when droughts are less likely to occur. For example, if droughts are more likely to happen in spring, the plants may delay flowering until the summer. Arabidopsis thaliana is a small plant that is found across Eurasia, Africa and North America, including in areas that are prone to drought at different times of the year. Individual plants of the same species may carry different versions of the same gene (known as alleles). Some of these alleles may not work properly and are referred to as loss-of-function alleles. Monroe et al. investigated whether A. thaliana plants carry any loss-of-function alleles that are associated with droughts happening in the spring or summer, and whether they are linked to when those plants will flower. Monroe et al. analyzed satellite images collected over the last 30 years tomore »measure when droughts have occurred. Next, they searched genome sequences of Arabidopsis thaliana for alleles that might help the plants to adapt to droughts in the spring or summer. Combining the two approaches revealed that loss-of-function alleles associated with spring droughts were strongly predicted to be associated with the plants flowering later in the year. Similarly, loss-of-function alleles associated with summer droughts were predicted to be associated with the plants flowering earlier in the year. These findings support the idea that plants can adapt to drought by changing when they produce flowers, and suggest that loss-of-function alleles play a major role in this process. New techniques for editing genes mean it is easier than ever to generate new loss-of-function alleles in specific genes. Therefore, the results presented by Monroe et al. may help researchers to develop new varieties of crop plants that are better adapted to droughts.« less