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Triticum dicoccoides, wild emmer wheat, is the direct progenitor of cultivated wheats, has the same genome formula as durum wheat, and has contributed two genomes to bread wheat. It harbors many useful genes, more than can be used for wheat improvement. These genes are associated with many agronomic traits, abiotic stress tolerances, biotic stress resistances, grain protein content and micronutrient mineral concentrations. In this review, we summarized the achievements regarding gene discovery, i.e. gene identification, mapping and cloning in wild emmer wheat. These genes, controlling important agronomic traits, disease resistance, drought tolerance, high protein content and micronutrient mineral content, should be very useful for improvement of wheat production and food nutrition. However, the majority of genetic resources in wild emmer remain untapped, demonstrating the need for further exploration and utilization for wheat breeding programs. The large number of molecular markers, genomics tools and efficient cloning techniques available for wheat will greatly accelerate the application of wild emmer germplasm to wheat improvement and ensure sustainability of global wheat production.

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A total of 232 accessions of tetraploid species, durum wheat (Triticum turgidum L. ssp. durum Desf., 2n=4x=28, AABB) with a widespread origin of various countries were used in this study. Their high molecular weight glutenin subunit (HMW-GS) composition was identified by Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight Mass Spectrometry (MALDI-TOF-MS). Among all accessions analyzed, 194 were homogeneous for HMW-GS, 38 were heterogeneous, and 62 possessed unusual or new subunits. The results revealed a total of 43 alleles, including 5 at Glu-A1 and 38 at Glu-B1, resulting in 60 different allele combinations. The Glu-B1 locus displayed higher variation compared with Glu-A1. Glu-A1c (55.2%) and Glu-B1aj (17.7%) were the most frequent alleles at Glu-A1 and Glu-B1, respectively. Two allele types (“null” and 1) at the Glu-A1 locus and three allele types (7OE + 8, 14+15, 8) at the Glu-B1 locus appeared to be the common types in the 232 accessions. A total of 23 new alleles represented by unusual subunits were detected at the Glu-A1 and the Glu-B1 locus.

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Authors: Y. Feng, S. Zhang, X. Peng, J. Yuan, Y. Yang, H. Zhan and Y. Gong

In mammals, testis development is initiated by the expression of the sex-determining gene, SRY , where-as the genetic trigger for sex determination in birds remains unknown. In the present study, the expression of seven genes implicated in vertebrate sex determination and differentiation were studied in chicken embryonic gonads from day 4 to day 12 of incubation using reverse transcription and the polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). Results showed transcription of c Lhx9 , c GATA4 , c Vnn1 , c Ppt1 , c Brd3 were sexually dimorphic during chicken gonadal development, whereas c Eki2 , c Fog2 were expressed at similar levels in both sexes. Results of comparative studies between mammals and chickens show that vertebrate sex-determining pathways comprise both conserved and divergent elements: expression profiles of c GATA4 /c Fog2 and c Vnn1 are similar to those in mammals, while others appear some differences. Possible functions of these genes on chicken gonadal development were analyzed based on their expression profiles.

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New technologies in gene transfer combined with experimental embryology make the chicken embryo an excellent model system for gene function studies. The techniques of in ovo electroporation, in vitro culture for ex ovo electroporation and retrovirus-mediated gene transfer have already been fully developed in chicken. Yet to our knowledge, there are no definite descriptions on the features and application scopes of these techniques. The survival rates of different in vitro culture methods were compared and the EGFP expression areas of different gene transfer techniques were explored. It was that the optimal timings of removing embryo for EC culture and Petri dish system was at E1.5 and E2.5, respectively; and optimal timing of injecting retrovirus is at E0. Results indicated that the EC culture, in ovo electroporation, the Petri dish system and retrovirus-mediated method are, respectively, suitable for the very early, early, late and whole embryonic stages in chicken. Comparison of different gene transfer methods and establishment of optimal timings are expected to provide a better choice of the efficient method for a particular experiment.

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Doublesex and mab-3-related transcription factor 1 (Dmrt1) is a Z-linked gene that putatively determines the phenotype of gonads in birds. The sex differential expression of Dmrt1 was examined using wholemount in situ hybridization (WISH) in the urogenital systems during embryogenesis. The results revealed that Dmrt1 showed dimorphic expression in chicken gonads, which increased from day 6.5 to day 10.5. The expression of Dmrt1 in male (ZZ) gonads was not twice as much as in female (ZW) gonads, suggesting the existence of other regulatory mechanisms in addition to Z chromosome dosage effect.

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High ozone (O3) can cause great damage to plants. However, the effect of high O3 on nitrogen (N) absorption, distribution, and utilization in rice at different growth stages under different planting densities is poorly understood. In the present study, a conventional cultivar (Yangdao 6) and a hybrid cultivar (II You 084) with different planting densities were exposed to an elevated amount of O3 (E-O3; 50% higher than that of the control, C-O3) under a freeair gas concentration enrichment (FACE) system. N absorption, distribution, and utilization of the green leaves, stems, and shoots at tillering, jointing heading, and maturity were investigated. Results showed that E-O3 significantly increased the N content in the shoots of Yangdao 6 by 7.5%, 12.7%, and 19.6%, respectively, at jointing, heading, and maturity. Also, the N content in the shoots of II You 084 increased by 5.4%, 6.5%, and 8.4% at the corresponding growth stage upon E-O3 application. E-O3 significantly decreased N accumulation of II You 084 by 8.3%, 4.9%, 4.7%, and 19.2%, respectively, at tillering, jointing, heading, and maturity. Further, E-O3 had a decreasing effect on the N distribution in green leaves (p ≤ 0.05) of both cultivars, but exerted an increasing effect on that in the stems of both cultivars (p ≤ 0.05). In addition, E-O3 significantly decreased the N use efficiency (NUE) for biomass of the two cultivars in all growth stages. These results revealed that E-O3 could increase the N content in rice plants but decrease the N accumulation and utilization in both cultivars. The effects of E-O3 on N absorption, distribution, and utilization were not affected by planting density.

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This study was to examine the effects of four fungal polysaccharides, namely exo-polysaccharide (EPS), water-extracted mycelia polysaccharide (WPS), sodium hydroxideextracted mycelia polysaccharide (SPS), and hydrochloric-extracted mycelia polysaccharide (APS) obtained from the endophytic fungus Bionectra pityrodes Fat6, on the sprout growth and flavonoids production of Fagopyrum tataricum. Without obvious changes in the appearance of the sprouts, the exogenous polysaccharide elicitors notably stimulated the sprout growth and functional metabolites accumulation, and the stimulation effect was mainly depended on the polysaccharide species along with its treatment dose. With application of 150 mg/l of EPS, 150 mg/l of WPS and 200 mg/l of SPS, the total rutin and quercetin yield of buckwheat sprouts was effectively increased to 49.18 mg/(100 sprouts), 50.54 mg/(100 sprouts), and 52.27 mg/(100 sprouts), respectively. That was about 1.57- to 1.66-fold in comparison with the control culture of 31.40 mg/(100 sprouts). Moreover, the present study revealed the accumulation of bioactive flavonoids resulted from the stimulation of the phenylpropanoid pathway by fungal polysaccharide treatments. It could be an efficient strategy for improving the nutritional and functional quality of tartary buckwheat sprouts applied with specific fungal elicitors.

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