Lay summary

Climate models indicate that global warming will strongly impact on alpine floras worldwide, because alpine habitats will experience drastic and fast environmental changes. Understanding how plants are adapted to their environment and can persist under changing climatic conditions is therefore not only of prime interest from a fundamental scientific perspective, but also from a political perspective. Developing policies and implementing conservation strategies can only be done once a deeper understanding of the fundamental processes underlying survival and adaptation in alpine environments has been achieved. However, despite the great interest in alpine plants and their adaptations to extreme environmental conditions, little is known about the genetic and molecular basis of altitudinal adaptations. This is primarily a consequence of the lack of suitable study organisms with genetic and genomic resources. Here we propose to study altitudinal adaptation in Arabidopsis relatives to take the advantage of genomic and genetic resources of Arabidopsis.