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High-yield common buckwheat ‘cv. Fengtian 1’ (FT1) and tartary buckwheat ‘cv. Jingqiao 2’ (JQ2) were selected to investigate the characteristics of the grain-filling process and starch accumulation of high-yield buckwheat. FT1 had an average yield that was 43.0% higher than that of the control ‘cv. Tongliaobendixiaoli’ (TLBDXL) in two growing seasons, while JQ2 had an average yield that was 27.3% higher than that of the control ‘cv. Chuanqiao 2’ (CQ2). The Richards equation was utilized to evaluate the grain-filling process of buckwheat. Both FT1 and JQ2 showed higher values of initial growth power and final grain weight and longer linear increase phase, compared with respective control. These values suggest that the higher initial increasing rate and the longer active growth period during grain filling play important roles to increase buckwheat yield. Similar patterns of starch, amylose and amylopectin accumulation were detected in common buckwheat, leading to similar concentration of each constituent at maturity in FT1 and TLBDXL. Tartary buckwheat showed an increasing accumulation pattern of amylose in developing seeds, which differed from that of starch and amylopectin. This pattern led to a significant difference of the concentrations of amylose and amylopectin at maturity between JQ2 and CQ2, the mechanisms of which remained unclear. Nevertheless, both FT1 and JQ2 showed increased starch, amylose, and amylopectin accumulation during the physiological maturity of grains. The results suggest that prolonging the active grain-filling period to increase carbohydrate partitioning from source to seed sink can be an effective strategy to improve buckwheat yield.

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Global rice supplies have been found contaminated with unapproved varieties of genetically modified (GM) rice in recent years, which has led to product recalls in several of countries. Faster and more effective detection of GM contamination can prevent adulterated food, feed and seed from being consumed and grown, minimize the potential environmental, health or economic damage. In this study, a simple, reliable and cost-effective multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for identifying genetic modifications of TT51-1, Kemingdao1 (KMD1) and Kefeng6 (KF6) rice was developed by using the event-specific fragment. The limit of detection (LOD) for each event in the multiplex PCR is approximately 0.1%. Developed multiplex PCR assays can provide a rapid and simultaneous detection of GM rice.

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Male sterile mutants play an important role in the utilisation of crop heterosis. Male sterile plants were found in S5 generations of maize hybrid ZH2, through continuous sib-mating by using the fertile plants in the same population, we obtained a male sterile sibling population K932MS including sterile plants K932S and a fertile plant K932F. The objective of this study was to clarify the genetic characterisation and abortion characteristics by nucleus and cytoplasm effect analyses, cytoplasm grouping, and cytological observation. The results showed that no difference was found between K932S and K932F in the vegetative growth stage, but K932S had no emerging anther or pollen grains. The segregation ratio of fertile plants to sterile plants was 1:1 in the sibling progenies, while it was 3:1 in self-crossing progenies of K932F. The sterility of K932S could be restored among reciprocal progenies when seven normal inbred lines were used as females respectively. The fertility expression of K932S crossed with 30 testers would be changed in different test-crosses and some backcross progenies. The C-type restorer Zifeng-1 (Rf4Rf4) was able to restore the fertility of K932S, and the specific PCR amplification bands of K932MS were consistent with CMSCMo17. The anther of K932S began abortion at dyad with its tapetum expanded radically and vacuolated: this induced abnormality in the shapes of both dyads and tetrads. The microspore could not develop normally, and then it collapsed and gradually disappeared. Hence, K932MS is a C-type cytoplasmic male sterile mutant with a pollen-free, stable inheritance: it has potential application value for further research.

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Aegilops sharonensis (Sharon goatgrass) is a valuable source of novel high molecular weight glutenin subunits, resistance to wheat rust, powdery mildew, and insect pests. In this study, we successfully hybridized Ae. sharonensis as the pollen parent to common wheat and obtained backcross derivatives. F1 intergeneric hybrids were verified using morphological observation and cytological and molecular analyses. The phenotypes of the hybrid plants were intermediate between Ae. sharonensis and common wheat. Observations of mitosis in root tip cells and meiosis in pollen mother cells revealed that the F1 hybrids possessed 28 chromosomes. Chromosome pairing at metaphase I of the pollen mother cells in the F1 hybrid plants was low, and the meiotic configuration was 25.94 I + 1.03 II (rod). Two pairs of primers were screened out from 150 simple sequence repeat markers, and primer WMC634 was used to identified the presence of the genome of Ae. sharonensis. Sequencing results showed that the F1 hybrids contained the Ssh genome of Ae. sharonensis. The sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis profile showed that the alien high molecular weight glutenin subunits of Ae. sharonensis were transferred into the F1 and backcross derivatives. The new wheat-Ae. sharonensis derivatives that we have produced will be valuable for increasing resistance to various diseases of wheat and for improving the quality of bread wheat.

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Physiological male sterility induced by the chemical hybridizing agent (CHA) overcomes problems of maintenance of sterile lines and restorers. However, the mechanism of sterility is unclear. The process of tapetum of CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’ at uninucleate, binucleate and trinucleate were compared with control to determine if tapetum varying differently during developmental stages. Tapetal degradation in CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’ began at late uninucleate stage, somewhat earlier than control plants. Cytological observations indicated that the gradual degradation of the tapetum in CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’ was initiated and terminated earlier than in the control. These findings implied that CHA-induced male sterility was related to abnormally early tapetal degradation. In order to indicate the role of the SKP1 gene in fertility/sterility in wheat, its expression was assessed in anthers at uninucleate, binucleate and trinucleate stages. SKP1 expression was reduced in the later developmental stages, and there was an obvious decrease from the uninucleate to trinucleate stages. Higher expression of the SKP1 gene occurred in ‘Xi’nong 2611’ compared to CHA-treated ‘Xi’nong 2611’. This implied that SKP1 gene expression was inhibited during the fertility transformation process and was related to transformation from fertility to sterility. Moreover, the results from this study suggest that SKP1 plays an essential role of conducting fertility in physiological male sterility.

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To study the development of starch granules in polyploid wheats, we investigated the expression of starch synthetic genes between the synthetic hexaploid wheat SHW-L1, its parents T. turgidum AS2255 and diploid Ae. tauschii AS60. The synthetic hexaploid wheat SHW-L1 showed significantly higher starch content and grain weight than its parents. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) showed that SHW-L1 rapidly developed starch granules than AS2255 and AS60. The amount of B-type granule in AS60 was less than that in SHW-L1 and AS2255. RT-qPCR result showed that the starch synthetic genes AGPLSU1, AGPLSU2, AGPSSU1, AGPSSU2, GBSSI, SSIII, PHO1 and PHO2 expressed at earlier stages with larger quantity in SHW-L1 than in its parents during wheat grain development. The expression of the above mentioned genes in AS60 was slower than in SHW-L1 and AS2255. The expression pattern of starch synthase genes was also associated with the grain weight and starch content in all three genotypes. The results suggested that the synthetic hexaploid wheat inherited the pattern of starch granule development and starch synthase gene expression from tetraploid parent. The results suggest that tetraploid wheat could plays more important role for starch quality improvement in hexaploid wheat.

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Chromosome segment substitution lines (CSSLs) are powerful tools to combine naturally occurring genetic variants with favorable alleles in the same genetic backgrounds of elite cultivars. An elite CSSL Z322-1-10 was identified from advanced backcrosses between a japonica cultivar Nipponbare and an elite indica restorer Xihui 18 by SSR marker-assisted selection (MAS). The Z322-1-10 line carries five substitution segments distributed on chromosomes 1, 2, 5, 6 and 10 with an average length of 4.80 Mb. Spikilets per panicle, 1000-grain weight, grain length in the Z322-1-10 line are significantly higher than those in Nipponbare. Quantitative trait loci (QTLs) were identified and mapped for nine agronomic traits in an F3 population derived from the cross between Nipponbare and Z322-1-10 using the restricted maximum likelihood (REML) method in the HPMIXED procedure of SAS. We detected 13 QTLs whose effect ranging from 2.45% to 44.17% in terms of phenotypic variance explained. Of the 13 loci detected, three are major QTL (qGL1, qGW5-1 and qRLW5-1) and they explain 34.68%, 44.17% and 33.05% of the phenotypic variance. The qGL1 locus controls grain length with a typical Mendelian dominance inheritance of 3:1 ratio for long grain to short grain. The already cloned QTL qGW5-1 is linked with a minor QTL for grain width qGW5-2 (13.01%) in the same substitution segment. Similarly, the previously reported qRLW5-1 is also linked with a minor QTL qRLW5-2. Not only the study is important for fine mapping and cloning of the gene qGL1, but also has a great potential for molecular breeding.

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In this study, we employed electron microscopy to investigate the cytogenetic and embryologic mechanisms of parthenogenesis induced in the 1BL/1RS male sterile lines of wheat. Analysis of the root tips and acid polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis indicated that all of the male sterile lines and their maintainer lines were 1BL/1RS translocation lines, whereas the restorer lines were non-1BL/1RS translocation lines. Furthermore, the chromosomes of 1BL/1RS wheat lines with T. aestivum cytoplasm and Aegilops cytoplasm (include Ae. kotschyi, Ae. ventricosa, Ae. variabilis) paired abnormally at different rates during meiotic metaphase I (MMI). The translocated segment size of the 1RS chromosome and the specific nuclear–alloplasm interaction impaired the pairing of homologous chromosome in the background of the specific Aegilops cytoplasm at MMI. In addition, the frequency of abnormal chromosomal pairing was directly affected by the frequency of haploid production induced by parthenogenesis. The results of this study provide significant insights into the mechanism of parthenogenesis, which is probably due to the abnormal fertilization of synergid cells in alloplasmic 1BL/1RS wheat.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: W.T. Xue, A. Gianinetti, R. Wang, Z.J. Zhan, J. Yan, Y. Jiang, T. Fahima, G. Zhao, and J.P. Cheng

Crop seeds are the main staples in human diet, especially in undeveloped countries. In any case, the diet needs to be rich not only in macro-nutrients like carbohydrates and protein, but also in micro-nutrients. Nevertheless, both the macro- and micro-nutrients presented in seeds largely vary in consequence of field and environment conditions. In this research, 60 lines of a barley RILs population segregating for the SSR marker Hvm74, which is genetically linked to the GPC (grain protein content) locus (HvNAM-1), were studied in 4 environments (two growing years and two field managements) by carrying out a comprehensive profile of seed macro- (starch, total nitrogen and total soluble protein) and micro-nutrients (phytate, phenolics, flavonoids, Pi, Zn and Fe). Under field conditions, all the components were largely affected by the environment, but TN (total nitrogen) exhibited high genotype contribution, while micro-nutrients displayed higher genotype × environments interactions (GEI) than macro-nutrients. In order to approach the effects of carbon-nitrogen (C–N) balance on other seed components, two C/N ratios were calculated: C/TN (CNR1) and C/TSP (CNR2). CNR2 exhibited stronger negative correlations with all micro-nutrients. Hence, the significant GEI and its negative relationships with CNR2 highlighted the different characters of micro-nutrients in barley seeds.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: H.Y. Li, Z.L. Li, X.X. Zeng, L.B. Zhao, G. Chen, C.L. Kou, S.Z. Ning, Z.W. Yuan, Y.L. Zheng, D.C. Liu, and L.Q. Zhang

High-molecular-weight glutenin subunits (HMW-GSs) are important seed storage proteins associated with bread-making quality in common wheat (Triticum aestivum L., 2n = 6x = 42, AABBDD). Variation in the Glu-A1x locus in common wheat is scare. Diploid Triticum monococcum ssp. monococcum (2n = 2x = 14, AmAm) is the first cultivated wheat. In the present study, allelic variations at the Glu-A1 m x locus were systematically investigated in 197 T. monococcum ssp. monococcum accessions. Out of the 8 detected Glu-A1 m x alleles, 5 were novel, including Glu-A1 m-b, Glu-A1 m-c, Glu-A1 m-d, Glu-A1 m-g, and Glu-A1 m-h. This diversity is higher than that of common wheat. Compared with 1Ax1 and 1Ax2*, which are present in common wheat, these alleles contained three deletions/insertions as well as some single nucleotide polymorphism variations that might affect the elastic properties of wheat flour. New variations in T. monococcum probably occurred after the divergence between A and Am and are excluded in common wheat populations. These allelic variations could be used as novel resources to further improve wheat quality.

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