Because natural variation in wild species is likely the result of local adaptation, it provides a valuable resource for understanding plant-environmental interactions. Rorippa aquatica (Brassicaceae) is a semi-aquatic North American plant with morphological differences between several accessions, but little information available on any physiological differences. Here, we surveyed the transcriptomes of two R. aquatica accessions and identified cryptic physiological differences between them. We first reconstructed a Rorippa phylogeny to confirm relationships between the accessions. We performed large-scale RNA-seq and de novo assembly; the resulting 87,754 unigenes were then annotated via comparisons to different databases. Between-accession physiological variation was identified with transcriptomes from both accessions. Transcriptome data were analyzed with principal component analysis and self-organizing map. Results of analyses suggested that photosynthetic capability differs between the accessions. Indeed, physiological experiments revealed between-accession variation in electron transport rate and the redox state of the plastoquinone pool. These results indicated that one accession may have adapted to differences in temperature or length of the growing season.
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