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Drought is a severe abiotic stress that affects wheat production worldwide. In order to identify candidate genes for tolerance to water stress in wheat, sequences of 11 genes that have function of drought tolerance in other plant species were used to identify the wheat ortholog genes via homology searching in the wheat EST database. Atotal of 11 primer pairs were identified and amplified PCR products in wheat. Of them, 10 STS markers were mapped on 11 chromosomes in a set of nulli-tetrasomic lines of ‘Chinese Spring’ wheat; six were mapped on chromosomes 1A, 1B, 4B, 7A, 2B and 5D, respectively, in a spring wheat mapping population (POP1). The marker XTaABH1 mapped on 7A in POP1 was the only one mapped but characterized in a winter wheat mapping population (POP2) for grain yield, kernel weight and diameter, and height in four-field trials applied different water stress or irrigation. The marker XTaABH1 was significantly associated with grain yield under rainfed condition, with kernel weight under terminal stress and non-irrigation conditions, with kernel diameter and height under non-irrigated condition. The STS primers, map information and marker-trait association produced in the currently study would be of interest to researchers working on drought tolerance.

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The study site is the Honghe National Nature Reserve, a Ramsar designated site on the Sanjiang Plain in Northeast China. We present results regarding the spatial pattern and structure of plant communities in these most important natural but continually diminishing freshwater wetlands of China to help promote both protection and restoration. By investigating three ecological levels (landscape, ecosystem and community), this paper quantifies the characteristics of spatial pattern with the aim to identify specific ecological correlations with different hydrogeomorphic features. Specifically, the research involves hierarchical mapping of vegetation types by use of remote sensed data, and the coupling of landscape indices with fluvial topographic zones that have been deduced by GIS from DEM. Statistics from historical survey data are also used to measure the degradation of marshes as well as the historical change of the hydrological regime. We found that dominant is the Calamagrostis angustifolia — Carex spp. community type, a wet meadow and marsh complex within the prevailing landscape mosaic of shrubland and meadow. The results suggest that the sites’ hydro-geomorphic character has decisive influence on plant community structure and composition. There is only limited direct human interference in the sites and, as a consequence, the spatial pattern of vegetation distribution is natural. However, changes to the hydrological regime as the result of extensive irrigation activity in the surrounding area has led to rapid degradation of marsh wetlands within the sites, which threatens the ecological status in this storehouse of “Natural Genes” in the reserve.

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Developmental genetics of phenylalanine content in indica-japonica hybrid rice ( Oryza sativa L.) have been studied through 7 indica rice crossed with 5 japonica rice by using the developmental genetic models and corresponding statistical approaches for quantitative traits of triploid seeds in cereal crops. The unconditional genetic model was used to analyze the cumulative genetic effects (from flowering to a specific time) along the developmental stages, and the conditional genetic model was used to analyze the genetic effects in one specially developmental stage from one filling time to another time ( t -1→ t ). Results showed that phenylalanine content of indica-japonica hybrid rice was simultaneously controlled by the triploid endosperm effects, cytoplasm effects, diploid maternal effects and their genotype × environment interaction effects. Endosperm dominance effect, maternal additive effect and cytoplasmic effect were more important at the initial stage of rice development than endosperm additive effect and maternal dominance effect. With regard to the components of heritability, maternal and cytoplasm general heritability and their interaction heritability were higher for phenylalanine content at all 5 developmental stages. Respectively, it occupied 68.3, 92.4, 100.0, 100.0 and 78.9% among all the component of heritability. It was suggested that improving the phenylalanine content of indica-japonica hybrid rice would be more efficient when selection was based on maternal plants at early generations in rice breeding program.

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Eight malting barley cultivars were used to investigate the cultivar and environmental effects on grain protein components and the relationships between protein fractions and β -amylase or β -glucanase activity. The results showed there was a great variation for three protein fraction (albumin, hordein and glutelin) contents over cultivars and locations, and a distinct difference in each protein fraction content between the locations for a given cultivars. Correlation analysis indicated that β -amylase activity was significantly correlated with three protein fraction contents and there was a negative correlation between glutelin content and β -amylase activity, but β -amylase activity positively correlated with albumin or hordein content. Furthermore, there was a significant positive correlation between total protein content and β -glucanase activity, and we found the hordein and glutelin content did not show correlated with β -glucanase activity but the albumin content was a significantly negative correlation with β -glucanase activity.

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Garlic is widely used as food flavouring, and China is the world's largest garlic producer and exporter. To develop a convenient technique for evaluation of garlic cultivars would be worthwhile, and it would have wide application in such a huge market. In this research, 3D front-face fluorescence data of 8 garlic cultivars were recorded, and independent component analysis was used to decompose the overall fluorescence spectra into six independent components. The first, second, and fourth independent components showed a big difference among the cultivars, and the chemical fluorophores behind these three components were specified as protein, vitamin B6, and ATP, respectively, as fluorescent markers for evaluation. The result showed that all 8 cultivars cluster separately. The cultivar “YNQJ” have the highest quality in terms of protein and vitamin B6, “NXYC” and “SDHB” have the highest content of ATP, while “SXXA” is the poorest in terms of protein and ATP, and “HNJZ” has the lowest content of vitamin B6. Therefore, rapid evaluation of garlic cultivars can be accomplished successfully by using only the proportion values of three properly selected fluorescent markers.

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The effects of sowing date, nitrogen application level and timing on barley protein components and malt quality were investigated. There was a significant difference in total protein and its protein fractions among the four barley genotypes. The protein component was changeable over the different growing conditions, and the extent of change varied with protein fraction and genotype. Marked variation in malt quality over the different environments (sowing date, N fertilizer rate and applying time) was also observed. Increased N fertilizer application increased diastatic power (DP) value, but reduced malt extract. Grain protein content was significantly and positively correlated with albumin, globulin and hordein, but was not correlated with glutelin. However, glutelin was significantly related to other malt quality parameters.

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Nitrogen (N) is an important nutrient for plant growth and yield production, and rice grown in paddy soil mainly uses ammonium (NH4 +) as its N source. Previous studies have shown that N status is tightly connected to plant defense; however, the roles of NH4 + uptake and assimilation in rice sheath blight disease response have not been studied previously. Here, we analyzed the effects of different N sources on plant defense against Rhizoctonia solani. The results indicated that rice plants grown in N-free conditions had higher resistance to sheath blight than those grown under N conditions. In greater detail, rice plants cultured with glutamine as the sole N source were more susceptible to sheath blight disease compared to the groups using NH4 + and nitrate (NO3 ) as sole N sources. N deficiency severely inhibited plant growth; therefore, ammonium transporter 1;2 overexpressors (AMT1;2 OXs) were generated to test their growth and defense ability under low N conditions. AMT1;2 OXs increased N use efficiency and exhibited less susceptible symptoms to R. solani and highly induced the expression of PBZ1 compared to the wild-type controls upon infection of R. solani. Furthermore, the glutamine synthetase 1;1 (GS1;1) mutant (gs1;1) was more susceptible to R. solani infection than the wild-type control, and the genetic combination of AMT1;2 OX and gs1;1 revealed that AMT1;2 OX was less susceptible to R. solani and required GS1;1 activity. In addition, cellular NH4 + content was higher in AMT1;2 OX and gs1;1 plants, indicating that NH4 + was not directly controlling plant defense. In conclusion, the present study showed that the activation of NH4 + uptake and assimilation were required for rice resistance against sheath blight disease.

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Salt stress is one of the major abiotic stress which severely limits plant growth and reduces crop productivity across the world. In the present study, the effects of exogenous pyridoxal-5-phosphate (vitamin B6, VB6) on seedling growth and development of wheat under salt stress were investigated. The results showed that exogenous application of pyridoxal-5-phosphate (VB6) significantly increased the RWC, biomass, the concentration of photosynthetic pigments, proline, the activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), peroxidase (POD), together with decreasing the content of Malondiadehyde (MDA) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) in wheat leaves under salt stress. Meanwhile, the transcript level of P5CR, P5CS, SOD, TaSOS1 and TaSOS4 were also up-regulated after treatment with pyridoxal-5-phosphate. VB6 acts as a signal in regulating the activities of plant antioxidant enzymes and SOS pathway to improve resistance to salt stress. The current study results may give an insight into the regulatory roles of VB6 in improving salt stress and VB6 could be an easily and effective method to improve salt-stress tolerance to wheat in the field condition. It is urgency to understand the molecular mechanism of VB6 to enhance the salt tolerance of wheat in the next work.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: D. Huang, H. Zhang, M. Tar, Y. Zhang, F. Ni, J. Ren, D. Fu, L. Purnhauser, and J. Wu

Stripe or yellow rust (Yr), caused by Puccinia striiformis Westend. (Pst), is one of the most important wheat diseases worldwide. New aggressive Pst races can spread quickly, even between countries and continents. To identify and exploit stripe rust resistance genes, breeders must characterize first the Pst resistance and genotypes of their cultivars. To find new sources of resistances it is important to study how wheat varieties respond to Pst races that predominate in other continents. In this study we evaluated stripe rust resistance in 53 Hungarian winter wheat cultivars in China. Twenty-four cultivars (45.3%) had all stage resistance (ASR) and 1 (1.9%) had adult-plant resistance (APR), based on seedling tests in growth chambers and adult-plant tests in fields. We molecularly genotyped six Yr resistance genes: Yr5, Yr10, Yr15, Yr17, Yr18, and Yr36. Yr18, an APR gene, was present alone in five cultivars, and in ‘GK Kapos’, that also had seedling resistance. The other five Yr genes were absent in all cultivars tested.

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Grains of 12 accessions of Triticum timopheevii (Zhuk.) Zhuk. ssp. timopheevii (AAGG, 2n = 4x = 28) and one bread wheat cultivar Chinese Spring (CS) and one durum wheat cultivar Langdon (LDN) grown across two years were analyzed for grain iron (Fe) and zinc (Zn) concentrations. All the 12 tested T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii genotypes showed significantly higher concentration of grain Fe and Zn than CS and LDN. Aboundant genetic variability of both the Fe and Zn concentrations was observed among the T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii accessions, averagely varied from 47.06 to 90.26 mg kg−1 and from 30.05 to 65.91 mg kg−1, respectively. Their grain Fe and Zn concentrations between years exhibited a significantly positive correlation with the correlation coefficients r = 0.895 and r = 0.891, respectively, indicating the highly genetic stability. Flag leaf possessed twice or three times higher concentrations for both Fe and Zn than grain, and a significantly high positive correlation appeared between the two organs with r = 0.648 for Fe and r = 0.957 for Zn concentrations, respectively, suggesting flag leaves might be indirectly used for evaluating grain Zn and Fe contents. Significant correlations occurred between grain Fe and Zn concentrations, and between grain Zn concentration and the two agronomic traits of plant height and number of spikelets per spike. Both the concentrations were not related to seed size or weight as well as NAM-G1 gene, implying the higher grain Fe and Zn concentrations of T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii species are not ascribed to concentration effects of seed and the genetic control of NAM-G1 gene. There might be some other biological factors impacting the grain’s Zn and Fe concentrations. These results indicated T. timopheevii ssp. timopheevii species might be a promising genetic resource with high Fe and Zn concentrations for the biofortification of current wheat cultivars.

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