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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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This research was aimed to study the cell wall degradation and the dynamic changes of Ca2+ and related enzymes in developing aerenchyma of wheat root under waterlogging. An examination of morphological development by light and electron microscope revealed that the structure of cell wall in middle cortical cells remained intact after 12 h of waterlogging and turned thinner after waterlogging for 24 h. At 48 h, the aerenchyma has been formed. The cellulase activity gradually increased in middle cortical cells within 24 h of waterlogging, and decreased with the formation of aerenchyma. Fluorescence detection and subcellular localization of Ca2+ showed the dynamic changing of Ca2+ at the cellular and subcellular levels during the development of aerenchyma. The activity of Ca2+-ATPase enhanced markedly in intercellular space, plasma membrane and tonoplast of some middle cortical cells after 8 h of waterlogging and remained high after 24 h, but it decreased after 48 h of waterlogging. All these suggests that cellulase, Ca2+ and Ca2+-ATPase show a dynamic distribution during the aerenchyma development which associated with the cell wall degradation of middle cortical cells. Moreover, there is a feedback regulation between Ca2+ and Ca2+-ATPase.

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Gibberellins (GAs) are a class of plant hormones that play important roles in diverse aspects during plant growth and development. A series of GA synthesis and metabolism genes have been reported or proved to have essential functions in different plant species, while a small number of GA 2-oxidase genes have been cloned or reported in wheat. Previous studies have provided some important findings on the process of GA biosynthesis and the enzymes involved in its related pathways. These may facilitate understanding of the complicated process underlying GA synthesis and metabolism in wheat. In this study, GA 2-oxidase genes TaGA2ox1-1, TaGA2ox1-2, TaGA2ox1-3, TaGA2ox1-4, TaGA2ox1-5, and TaGA2ox1-6 were identified and further overexpressed in rice plants to investigate their functions in GA biosynthesis and signaling pathway. Results showed overexpression of GA 2-oxidase genes in rice disrupted the GA metabolic pathways and induced catalytic responses and regulated other GA biosynthesis and signaling pathway genes, which further leading to GA signaling disorders and diversity in phenotypic changes in rice plants.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: X. Gong, C. Liu, Y. Wang, X. Zhao, M. Zhou, M. Hong, S. Wang, N. Li, and F. Hong

The mechanism of the fact that Mn deficiency damages the photosynthesis of plants is not yet fully understood. The main aim of the study was to determine Mn deficiency effects in photophosphorylation and key enzymes of CO 2 assimilation of maize. Maize plants were cultivated in Hoagland’s solution. They were subjected to Mn deficiency and to Mn administered in the Mn-deficient Hoagland’s media. The results showed that Mn deficiency was found to cause extensive declines in plant weight and chlorophyll a content, electron transport and oxygen-evolving rate, photophosphorylation rate, activities of Mg 2+ -ATPase, Ca 2+ -ATPase, Rubisco and Rubisco activase, and mRNA expressions of Rubisco and Rubisco activase of maize, but it only slightly affected chlorophyll b and carotenoid formation. However, Mn addition decreased the inhibition of the photosynthesis in maize caused by Mn deficiency.

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This study was conducted to compare structural development and biochemical accumulation of waxy and non-waxy wheat (NW) caryopses. The caryopses’ microstructure of the waxy wheat (WW) and NW cultivars at different developmental stages were observed under light, fluorescence, and scanning electron microscope. The results were as follows: Compared with NW,WWhad a shorter maturation duration, which was reflected in several following characteristics. Programmed cell death of the pericarp began earlier, and the chlorophyll-containing layer in the pericarp was smaller. Vacuoles in chalazal cells accumulated more tannins at different developmental stages. Starch granules and protein bodies in the endosperm showed a higher accumulation level in developing caryopses, and aleurone cells were larger in size with larger numbers of aleurone grains. An analysis of the element content indicated that the mineral elements Mg, P, K, and Ca exhibited a higher content, while the heavy elements Cr, Cd, and Pb exhibited a lower content in the aleurone layer.

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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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