Non-genetic inheritance of induced resistance in a wild annual plant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Non-genetic inheritance, e.g. transgenerational epigenetic effects, has received increasing interest in recent years, particularly in plants. However, most studies have involved a few model species and relatively little is known about wild species in these respects. We investigated transgenerational induced resistance to infection by the devastating oomycete Phytophthora infestans in Solanum physalifolium, a wild relative of cultivated potato. We treated plants with β-aminobutyric acid (BABA), a non-toxic compound acting as an inducing agent, or infected plants with P. infestans. BABA-treatment reduced lesion size in detached leaf assays inoculated by P. infestans in two out of three tested genotypes, suggesting that resistance to oomycetes can be induced by BABA within a generation not only in crops or model species but also in wild species directly collected from nature. Both BABA-treatment and infection in the parental generation reduced lesions in the subsequent generation in one out of two genotypes, indicating a transgenerational influence on resistance that varies among genotypes. We did not detect treatment effects on seed traits, indicating the involvement of a mechanism unrelated to maternal effects. In conclusion, our study provides data on BABA induction and non-genetic inheritance of induced resistance in a wild relative of cultivated potato, implying that this factor might be important in the ecological and agricultural landscape.


External organisations
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Botany
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)877-883
Number of pages7
Issue number8
Early online date2016 May 27
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Aug
Publication categoryResearch