Enriched partial correlations in genome-wide gene expression profiles of hybrids (A. thaliana): a systems biological approach towards the molecular basis of heterosis

  • Sandra Andorf
  • Joachim Selbig
  • Thomas Altmann
  • Kathrin Poos
  • Hanna Witucka-Wall
  • Dirk Repsilber
Original Paper


Heterosis is a well-known phenomenon but the underlying molecular mechanisms are not yet established. To contribute to the understanding of heterosis at the molecular level, we analyzed genome-wide gene expression profile data of Arabidopsis thaliana in a systems biological approach. We used partial correlations to estimate the global interaction structure of regulatory networks. Our hypothesis states that heterosis comes with an increased number of partial correlations which we interpret as increased numbers of regulatory interactions leading to enlarged adaptability of the hybrids. This hypothesis is true for mid-parent heterosis for our dataset of gene expression in two homozygous parental lines and their reciprocal crosses. For the case of best-parent heterosis just one hybrid is significant regarding our hypothesis based on a resampling analysis. Summarizing, both metabolome and gene expression level of our illustrative dataset support our proposal of a systems biological approach towards a molecular basis of heterosis.



This work was supported by the German Research Council (DFG) under Grants RE 1654/2-1 and SE 611/3-1. We want to thank Dirk Hincha (MPIMP-Golm) and his lab for supporting our gene expression experiments.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sandra Andorf
    • 1
  • Joachim Selbig
    • 2
  • Thomas Altmann
    • 3
  • Kathrin Poos
    • 4
  • Hanna Witucka-Wall
    • 2
  • Dirk Repsilber
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for the Biology of Farm Animals (FBN)DummerstorfGermany
  2. 2.University of PotsdamPotsdam-GolmGermany
  3. 3.Leibniz Institute of Plant Genetics and Crop Plant Research (IPK)GaterslebenGermany
  4. 4.University of Applied Sciences GelsenkirchenRecklinghausenGermany

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