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  • Author or Editor: Li Xu x
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A reborn interest has occurred during the last decade toward wheat landraces for broadening genetic basis of modern wheat cultivars. The investigation of molecular traits within and between existing landraces of wheat can help scientists to develop appropriate strategies for their efficient maintenance and exploitation. The present study dealt with the gliadin characterization of forty-seven wheat landraces collected from wheat mainly planted areas of China, each of which was represented by a sample of at least 43 individuals. Twelve accessions selected on the basis of gliadin analysis were investigated further using 21 SSR markers. The results proved that landraces of wheat are a mixture of variable individuals genetically distinguishable from each other. Twelve of the analyzed 47 accessions were observed to be homogeneous, while 35 (74.5%) of them were heterogeneous in their gliadin composition. In total, 122 gliadin pattern were observed. On average, 10.1% (Gst) of the total variation arose from differentiation among regions, and 89.9% was attributed to within-region variation. Furthermore, nineteen of the 21 SSR markers were polymorphic across all the populations. The total number of the amplified DNA products was 110, with a mean of 6.11 alleles per locus. The values of genetic diversity within each landrace population varied from 0.006 to 0.351. Implications for the management of this valuable genetic resource are discussed.

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Youzimai is a widespread wheat landrace and has been used extensively in breeding programs in China. In order to assess the genetic variation between and within Youzimai accessions, samples of 31 landrace accessions of wheat, all called ‘Youzimai’, were collected from 6 geographic regions in China and evaluated using morphological traits, seedling resistance to powdery mildew, gliadin and microsatellite markers. Typical differences among accessions were observed in morphological characteristics. Forty-five (58.4%) of 77 assayed SSR markers showed polymorphism over the entire collection and total 226 alleles were identified with an average of 5.02 alleles per locus. SSR data indicated that the accessions from Hebei province were the most diverse, as evidenced by greatest number of region-specific alleles and highest diversity index. These accessions, therefore, probably experienced the most substantial morphological and molecular evolution as a result of various natural and anthropomorphic influences. On the other hand, differentiation in gliadin phenotypes was found among seeds within 80.6% of total accessions and average 61.5% of entire collections showed heterogeneous and comprised resistant plants in reaction to powdery mildew, suggesting the presence of a wide diversity within the wheat landrace. By developing an intimate knowledge of the available wheat genotypes, appropriate selections can be made for commercial application in order to conserve and exploit the diversity of the wheat landraces.

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Emasculation and bagging of flowers, which are widely used in the controlled pollination of monoclinous plants, may induce premature senescence, flower abscission and low fruit set. To determine the mechanism responsible for these phenomena, levels of abscisic acid (ABA), jasmonic acid (JA), indole-3-acetic acid (IAA), ethylene, soluble sugars, reducing sugars and free amino acids in black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) flowers subjected to different treatments were quantified at different developmental stages. The phytohormones and assimilates were also quantified in untreated flowers to investigate the presence of discernible patterns. The levels of ethylene and ABA in emasculated and bagged (EB) flowers increased prematurely compared with those of untreated flowers, whereas the content of reducing sugars in EB flowers decreased compared with that of untreated flowers. These results indicated that the premature increase in ethylene and ABA synthesis, and the decrease in reducing sugars content, in EB flowers may cause flower abscission and result in low fruit set, which may be relevant for assimilate applications and future research on the regulation of controlled pollinations with exogenous phytohormones.

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Barley stripe mosaic virus (BSMV)-based virus induced gene silencing (VIGS) is an effective strategy for rapid determination of functional genes in wheat plants. ERECTA genes are reported to regulate stomatal pattern of plants, and manipulation of TaERECTA (a homologue of ERECTA in bread wheat) is a potential route for investigating stomatal development. Here, the leucine-rich repeat domains (LRRs) and transmembrane domains of TaERECTA were selected to gain BSMV:ER-LR and BSMV:ER-TM constructs, respectively, targeting TaERECTA for silencing in wheat cultivars ‘Bobwhite’ and ‘Cadenza’, to identify the function of TaERECTA on stomatal patterns. The results showed that reduced expression of TaERECTA caused an increased stomatal and epidermal cell density by average 13.5% and 3.3%, respectively, due to the significantly reduced size of leaf epidermal and stomatal cells, and this led to an increase in stomatal conductance. These suggest that modulation of TaERECTA offers further opportunities in stomatal engineering for the adaptation of photosynthesis in wheat.

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Between December 2011 and March 2012, the reproductive characteristics of Microtus fortis reared in the laboratory at different population densities were assessed. In all, 258 male and female voles were randomly divided into 4 groups and reared at densities of 2, 4, 6, and 8 animals per cage (sex ratio: 1:1). The results showed that the pregnancy rate (χ2 = 21.671, df = 3, P < 0.001) and first farrowing interval (F = 12.355, df = 3, P < 0.001) were significantly different among the different population density groups, but the mean litter size (mean ± SD) was not (F = 2.669, df = 3, P > 0.05). In particular, the reproductive index and sex hormone levels showed a significant difference among the different density groups studied.

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Cereal Research Communications
Authors: S.F. Dai, D.Y. Xu, Z.J. Wen, Z.P. Song, H.X. Chen, H.Y Li, J.R. Li, L.Z. Kang and Z.H. Yan

A novel 4.0-kb Fy was sequenced and bacterially expressed. This gene, the largest y-type HMW-GS currently reported, is 4,032-bp long and encodes a mature protein with 1,321 amino acid (AA) residues. The 4.0-kb Fy shows novel modifications in all domains. In the N-terminal, it contains only 67 AA residues, as three short peptides are absent. In the repetitive domain, the undecapeptide RYYPSVTSPQQ is completely lost and the dodecapeptide GSYYPGQTSPQQ is partially absent. A novel motif unit, PGQQ, is present in addition to the two standard motif units PGQGQQ and GYYPTSPQQ. Besides, an extra cysteine residue also occurs in the middle of this domain. The large molecular mass of the 4.0-kb Fy is mainly due to the presence of an extra-long repetitive domain with 1,279 AA residues. The novel 4.0-kb Fy gene is of interest in HMW-GS gene evolution as well as to wheat quality improvement with regard to its longest repetitive domain length and extra cysteines residues.

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To explore the physiological characteristics of the pepc gene in transgenic wheat (Triticum aestivum) plants, PEPC activities in various organs of T3 plants were analyzed at Feekes 6.0, Feekes 10.3 and Feekes 11.1, and compared to control, untransformed wheat cultivar Zhoumai 19. Net photosynthetic rates (Pn) in leaves were also measured at the same stages. At Feekes 11.1, both transgenic and control plants were treated with DCDP. Yield traits were surveyed after harvest. The results indicated that Pn and PEPC activity in the flag leaf of transgenic wheat were significantly higher than those of the control at different stages. At Feekes 10.3, Pn reached the highest value at 28.2 μmol m−2 s−1 and PEPC activity reached the highest value at 104.6 μmol h−1 mg−1. Both factors significantly increased by 21% compared to the control at Feekes 11.1. PEPC activity in the flag leaf of transgenic plants was significantly higher than that of non-leaf organs. Pn of transgenic plants was greatly reduced after DCDP treatment. In the flag leaf of transgenic wheat, Pn was significantly correlated to PEPC activities at 0.01 probability level with a correlation coefficient of 0.8957**. The yield traits of transgenic line 1-27-3, such as 1000-grain weight, single spike weight and harvest index were higher than those of the control. Additionally, the spike weight of 1-27-3 showed an increase of approximately 9.5% compared to the control. These results indicated that the expression of maize (Zea mays) pepc gene was different across various organs of transgenic wheat and across every growth stage. Therefore, we conclude that introducing maize pepc gene into wheat plants can increase their Pn and improve production.

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