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Different components of biodiversity may vary differently since species diversity was considered to be determined by resource availability but functional diversity was related to partitioning of niche space. Moreover, the harsh or benign conditions may result in different niche space partitioning by the coexisting species. For example, in harsh environments niche differentiation may be stronger resulting in higher functional diversity. In this study, we investigate species diversity and functional diversity along a south-to north-facing slope gradient with different resource availability in a sub-alpine meadow. Our results indicate that the patterns of species diversity and functional diversity are not consistent along this gradient. Both species richness and Shannon index of diversity increased, but functional diversity slightly decreased or changed a little from south-to north-facing slope. Moreover, these two components formed a quadratic relationship. Soil water content (SWC) was the limiting resource along this gradient. On one hand, it determined the species diversity; on the other hand, it also influenced functional diversity via affecting niche differentiation and species trait pool. In conclusion, functional diversity was determined by both species richness and niche differentiation with the influence of soil water content.

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Maize seeds from inbred line Mo17, susceptible to Sugarcane mosaic virus (SCMV), were investigated for SCMV seed transmission. The seed quality significantly influenced the seed transmission rate. There were more infected seedlings derived from larger seeds than smaller seeds in both golden (G) and buff (B) seed groups, the proportion of infected seedlings in G1 was similar to G2 and B1, and significantly higher than the others (P < 0.05 or P < 0.01). While the proportion of SCMV seed transmission was higher in golden (3.9%) than buff seeds groups (2.3%), and there were significantly difference (P < 0.05) between the both colors seeds. However the percentage of infected seedlings was closely related to the location of seeds on ears, most infected seedlings were derived from seeds of the middle (Part III) and mid-base regions (Part IV), and the both parts (Parts III and IV) were significantly higher than that of Part I (P < 0.05). Fisher’s exact test indicated that the seed quality was associated significantly with the efficiency of SCMV seed transmission.

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The hypothesis of niche differentiation with respect to resources is considered to be one of the most influential explanations for the maintenance of species diversity. The hypothesis has been examined extensively by testing its prediction of species-habitat association, which posits that the spatial distribution of species is highly correlated with environmental variables. However, we argue that widespread evidence of the species-habitat association lacks adequate rigor to justify the niche differentiation hypothesis. In this study, we tested whether and to what extent the observed species-habitat association could be caused by ecological processes other than niche differentiation, in a 20-ha subtropical forest plot. The niche differentiation hypothesis was evaluated by testing the species-habitat association and performing a cross-evaluation of the habitat-diversity expectation, which posits that a strong positive correlation exists between species diversity and habitat complexity. Failure to support the habitat-diversity expectation would at a minimum indicate that the niche differentiation hypothesis might not be the main underlying process of species distribution, despite prevalence of the species-habitat association in the same plot. Our analysis revealed that distributions of most species (86.11%) in the plot were significantly associated with at least one of eight topographical and soil nutrient variables. However, there was almost no significant positive correlation between species diversity and habitat complexity at various spatial scales in the same plot. The results indicate that additional caution is warranted when interpreting the species-habitat association from the niche differentiation perspective. A significant species-habitat association indicates only a species’ habitat preference. The association may reveal nothing about interspecific differences in habitat preference, which is a requirement of the niche differentiation hypothesis.

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Two new y-type HMW-GSs in Ae. tauschii , 1Dy12.1* t and 1Dy12.2 t with the mobility order of 1Dy12.2 t > 1Dy12.1* t > 1Dy12.1 t >1Dy12, were identified by both SDS-PAGE and MALDI-TOF-MS. Molecular cloning and sequencing showed that the genes encoding subunits 1Dy12.1* t and 1Dy12.2 t had identical nucleotide acid sequences with 1,947 bp encoding a mature protein of 627 residues. Their deduced molecular weights were 67,347.6 Da, satisfactorily corresponding to that of 1Dy12.2 t subunit determined by MALDI-TOF-MS (67,015.7 Da), but was significantly smaller than that of the the 1Dy12.1* t subunit (68,577.1 Da). Both subunits showed high similarities to 1Dy10, suggesting that they could have a positive effect on bread-making quality. Interestingly, the expressed protein of the cloned ORF from accessions TD87 and TD130 in E. coli co-migrated with subunit 1Dy12.2 t , but moved slightly faster than 1Dy12.1* t on SDS-PAGE. The expressed protein in transgenic tobacco seeds, however, had the same mobility as the 1Dy12.1* t subunit, as confirmed by both SDS-PAGE and Western blotting. Although direct evidence of phosphoprotein could not be obtained by specific staining method, certain types of post-translational modifications (PTMs) of the 1Dy12.1* t subunit could not be excluded. We believe PTMs might be responsible for the molecular weight difference between the subunits 1Dy12.1* t and 1Dy12.2 t .

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A two-year field experiment with a split-split plot design was conducted to investigate the effects of soil N(0, 120 and 240 kg N·ha−1) and foliar Zn applications at different growth stages (jointing, flowering, early grain filling, and late grain filling) on Zn translocation and utilization efficiency in winter wheat grown on potentially Zn-deficient soil. Our results showed that foliar Zn application at the early grain filling stage significantly increased the Zn concentration in the grain (by 82.9% compared to control) and the Zn utilization efficiency (by 49% compared to jointing). The Zn concentration in the straw consistently increased with the timing of the foliar Zn application and was highest at late grain filling. However, the timing of the Zn application had little effect on Zn uptake in the grain and straw. A high N supply significantly increased the Zn concentration in and uptake by grain and straw, but it had little effect on the efficiency of Zn utilization. Consequently, a foliar Zn application at early grain filling causes Zn to re-translocate into grain from vegetative tissues, resulting in highly nutritional wheat grain. Finally, these practices improved the efficiency of Zn utilization in winter wheat and led to Zn-enriched straw, which may contribute to Zn recycling if it is returned to the field. The results also indicated that N nutrition is a critical factor in both the concentration and translocation of Zn in wheat.

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To comprehensively understand the genetic basis of plant height (PH), quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis for internode lengths, internode component indices and plant height component index (PHCI) were firstly conducted in the present study. Two related F8:9 recombinant inbred line (RIL) populations comprising 485 and 229 lines were used. Two hundred and nine putative additive QTL for the eight traits were identified, 35 of which showed significance in at least three trials. Of these, at least 11 pairwise QTL were common to the two populations. PH components at the QTL level had different effects on PH, confirming our previous multivariate conditional analysis (Cui et al. 2011). Eleven major QTL that showed consistency in expression across environments should be of great value in the genetic improvement of PH in wheat. The results above will enhance the understanding of the genetic basis of PH in wheat.

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Eight cultivars of dry-land wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) historically planted in Shaanxi Province, China, were grown in plots with irrigation and drought treatments during the growing seasons of 2011–2014, so as to characterize the differences in the rate and duration of the grain-filling stage among cultivars. The experimental results showed no obvious change among cultivars with respect to the duration of the grain-filling stage and no significant correlation between duration and grain weight. The filling rates of all three phases (lag, linear, and mature periods) showed significant differences among cultivars and had a greater effect on the grain weight than the duration of the filling stage, even though drought decreased the filling rate in the linear and mature periods. A lower filling rate led to a lighter grain weight in inferior grains than in superior grains. For the superior and inferior grains in the central spikelets, modern cultivars possess faster filling rates, especially in the lag and linear periods, whereas for the whole spike, no significant trend with cultivar replacement was observed. Faster filling rates with stable filling durations will be beneficial in obtaining additional yield increases.

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The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of maternal lead exposure on the learning and memory ability and expression of tau protein phosphorylation (P-tau) and beta amyloid protein (Aβ) in hippocampus of mice offspring. Pb exposure initiated from beginning of gestation to weaning. Pb acetate administered in drinking solutions was dissolved in distilled deionized water at the concentrations of 0.1%, 0.5% and 1% groups. On the 21 th of postnatal day, the learning and memory ability of the mouse pups was tested by Water Maze test and the Pb levels in blood and hippocampus of the offspring were also determined. The expression of P-tau and Aβ in hippocampus was measured by immunohistochemistry and Western blotting. The Pb levels in blood and hippocampus of all exposure groups were significantly higher than that of the control group ( P < 0.05). In Water Maze test, the performances of 0.5% and 1% groups were worse than that of the control group ( P < 0.05). The expression of P-tau and Aβ was increased in Pb exposed groups than that of the control group ( P < 0.05). Tau hyper-phosphorylation and Aβ increase in the hippocampus of pups may contribute to the impairment of learning and memory associated with maternal Pb exposure.

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In this paper, 633 species (involving 10 classes, 48 families, 205 genera) collected from the alpine meadow on the eastern Qinghai-Tibet plateau were studied. We tested potential factors affecting variation in mean germination time (MGT), i.e., plant traits (adult longevity, dispersal mode and seed size) or phylogeny, to evaluate if these factors were independent or they had interaction. Nested ANOVA showed that taxonomic membership accounted for the majority of MGT variation (70%), and in the generalized linear model, family membership could explain independently the largest proportion of MGT variation (29%). The strong taxonomic effect suggests that MGT variation within taxonomic membership is constrained. The other plant traits could also explain MGT variation independently (1% by adult longevity and dispersal mode, respectively, and 2% by seed size). Thus, the phylogeny was an important constraint to maintain the stability of species, and we could simplify the question if we regarded the phylogeny as an individual factor, but we could not negate the adaptive significance of the relationship between other plant traits and seed MGT. In addition, a large percentage of the variance remained unexplained by our model, thus important selective factors or parameters may have been left out of this analysis. We suggest that other possible correlates may exist between seed germination time and additional ecological factors (for example, altitude, habitat and post-dispersal predation) or phylogenetic related morphological and physiological seed attributes (e.g., endosperm mass) that were not evaluated in this study.

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Among the progenies of crossing Triticum turgidum — Haynaldia villosa amphiploid with synthetic hexaploid wheat (T. carthlicum / Aegilops tauschii) Am3, two lines (SN030713 and SN05078), with good resistance to stripe rust and powdery mildew, were developed. Cytological studies demonstrated that SN030713 contained 42 chromosomes and formed 21 bivalents at meiotic metaphase I. SN05078 contained 28 chromosomes and formed 14 bivalents. Genomic in situ hybridization analysis using H. villosa V genomic DNA as the probe showed SN030713 and SN05078 had no large H. villosa chromosome fragments. PCR analysis with H. villosa specific primer pHv29 showed that H. villosa genetic materials were introgressed in these two lines. SSR analysis indicated that the genomic composition of SN030713 was 2n = 6x = 42 (AABBDD), and SN05078 was 2n = 4x = 28 (AABB). Introgressed Ae. tauschii genetic materials in SN05078 were also detected.

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