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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A PECTIN METHYLESTERASE gene at the maize Ga1 locus confers male function in unilateral cross-incompatibility.

Unilateral cross-incompatibility (UCI) is a unidirectional inter/intra-population reproductive barrier when both parents are self-compatible. Maize Gametophyte factor1 (Ga1) is an intraspecific UCI system and has been utilized in breeding. However, the mechanism underlying maize UCI specificity has remained mysterious for decades. Here, we report the cloning of ZmGa1P, a pollen-expressed PECTIN METHYLESTERASE (PME) gene at the Ga1 locus that can confer the male function in the maize UCI system. Homozygous transgenic plants expressing ZmGa1P in a ga1 background can fertilize Ga1-S plants and can be fertilized by pollen of ga1 plants. ZmGa1P protein is predominantly localized to the apex of…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Aluminum tolerance in maize is associated with higher MATE1 gene copy number.

Genome structure variation, including copy number variation and presence/absence variation, comprises a large extent of maize genetic diversity; however, its effect on phenotypes remains largely unexplored. Here, we describe how copy number variation underlies a rare allele that contributes to maize aluminum (Al) tolerance. Al toxicity is the primary limitation for crop production on acid soils, which make up 50% of the world’s potentially arable lands. In a recombinant inbred line mapping population, copy number variation of the Al tolerance gene multidrug and toxic compound extrusion 1 (MATE1) is the basis for the quantitative trait locus of largest effect on…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Analysis of tandem gene copies in maize chromosomal regions reconstructed from long sequence reads.

Haplotype variation not only involves SNPs but also insertions and deletions, in particular gene copy number variations. However, comparisons of individual genomes have been difficult because traditional sequencing methods give too short reads to unambiguously reconstruct chromosomal regions containing repetitive DNA sequences. An example of such a case is the protein gene family in maize that acts as a sink for reduced nitrogen in the seed. Previously, 41-48 gene copies of the alpha zein gene family that spread over six loci spanning between 30- and 500-kb chromosomal regions have been described in two Iowa Stiff Stalk (SS) inbreds. Analyses of…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Long read sequencing technology to solve complex genomic regions assembly in plants

Background: Numerous completed or on-going whole genome sequencing projects have highlighted the fact that obtaining a high quality genome sequence is necessary to address comparative genomics questions such as structural variations among genotypes and gain or loss of specific function. Despite the spectacular progress that has been made in sequencing technologies, obtaining accurate and reliable data is still a challenge, both at the whole genome scale and when targeting specific genomic regions. These problems are even more noticeable for complex plant genomes. Most plant genomes are known to be particularly challenging due to their size, high density of repetitive elements…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Improved maize reference genome with single-molecule technologies.

Complete and accurate reference genomes and annotations provide fundamental tools for characterization of genetic and functional variation. These resources facilitate the determination of biological processes and support translation of research findings into improved and sustainable agricultural technologies. Many reference genomes for crop plants have been generated over the past decade, but these genomes are often fragmented and missing complex repeat regions. Here we report the assembly and annotation of a reference genome of maize, a genetic and agricultural model species, using single-molecule real-time sequencing and high-resolution optical mapping. Relative to the previous reference genome, our assembly features a 52-fold increase…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

New technologies boost genome quality.

Three years ago, Erich Jarvis helped mastermind a massive DNA sequenc- ing effort that netted genomes for more than 40 bird species and produced a better avian family tree. But when he tried to compare the avian genomes to those of other species to learn about the evolution and function of several key brain genes, he was stymied. His team found that gene sequences from most of the comparison species—even humans—were incomplete, missing, or misplaced in the larger genome. The group had to resequence sections of sev- eral genomes to get the needed data, delaying their project many months.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

ALF: a strategy for identification of unauthorized GMOs in complex mixtures by a GW-NGS method and dedicated bioinformatics analysis.

The majority of feed products in industrialised countries contains materials derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). In parallel, the number of reports of unauthorised GMOs (UGMOs) is gradually increasing. There is a lack of specific detection methods for UGMOs, due to the absence of detailed sequence information and reference materials. In this research, an adapted genome walking approach was developed, called ALF: Amplification of Linearly-enriched Fragments. Coupling of ALF to NGS aims for simultaneous detection and identification of all GMOs, including UGMOs, in one sample, in a single analysis. The ALF approach was assessed on a mixture made of DNA…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Extensive intraspecific gene order and gene structural variations between Mo17 and other maize genomes.

Maize is an important crop with a high level of genome diversity and heterosis. The genome sequence of a typical female line, B73, was previously released. Here, we report a de novo genome assembly of a corresponding male representative line, Mo17. More than 96.4% of the 2,183?Mb assembled genome can be accounted for by 362 scaffolds in ten pseudochromosomes with 38,620 annotated protein-coding genes. Comparative analysis revealed large gene-order and gene structural variations: approximately 10% of the annotated genes were mutually nonsyntenic, and more than 20% of the predicted genes had either large-effect mutations or large structural variations, which might…

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Friday, July 19, 2019

The Dominant and Poorly Penetrant Phenotypes of Maize Unstable factor for orange1 Are Caused by DNA Methylation Changes at a Linked Transposon.

The maize (Zea mays) mutant Unstable factor for orange1 (Ufo1) has been implicated in the epigenetic modifications of pericarp color1 (p1), which regulates the production of the flavonoid pigments phlobaphenes. Here, we show that the ufo1 gene maps to a genetically recalcitrant region near the centromere of chromosome 10. Transcriptome analysis of Ufo1-1 mutant and wild-type plants identified a candidate gene in the mapping region using a comparative sequence-based approach. The candidate gene, GRMZM2G053177, is overexpressed by >45-fold in multiple tissues of Ufo1-1, explaining the dominance of Ufo1-1 and its phenotypes. In the mutant stock, GRMZM2G053177 has a unique transcript…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Diversity and evolution of centromere repeats in the maize genome.

Centromere repeats are found in most eukaryotes and play a critical role in kinetochore formation. Though centromere repeats exhibit considerable diversity both within and among species, little is understood about the mechanisms that drive centromere repeat evolution. Here, we use maize as a model to investigate how a complex history involving polyploidy, fractionation, and recent domestication has impacted the diversity of the maize centromeric repeat CentC. We first validate the existence of long tandem arrays of repeats in maize and other taxa in the genus Zea. Although we find considerable sequence diversity among CentC copies genome-wide, genetic similarity among repeats…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

ThermoAlign: a genome-aware primer design tool for tiled amplicon resequencing.

Isolating and sequencing specific regions in a genome is a cornerstone of molecular biology. This has been facilitated by computationally encoding the thermodynamics of DNA hybridization for automated design of hybridization and priming oligonucleotides. However, the repetitive composition of genomes challenges the identification of target-specific oligonucleotides, which limits genetics and genomics research on many species. Here, a tool called ThermoAlign was developed that ensures the design of target-specific primer pairs for DNA amplification. This is achieved by evaluating the thermodynamics of hybridization for full-length oligonucleotide-template alignments – thermoalignments – across the genome to identify primers predicted to bind specifically to…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Loss of pollen-specific phospholipase NOT LIKE DAD triggers gynogenesis in maize.

Gynogenesis is an asexual mode of reproduction common to animals and plants, in which stimuli from the sperm cell trigger the development of the unfertilized egg cell into a haploid embryo. Fine mapping restricted a major maize QTL (quantitative trait locus) responsible for the aptitude of inducer lines to trigger gynogenesis to a zone containing a single gene NOT LIKE DAD (NLD) coding for a patatin-like phospholipase A. In all surveyed inducer lines, NLD carries a 4-bp insertion leading to a predicted truncated protein. This frameshift mutation is responsible for haploid induction because complementation with wild-type NLD abolishes the haploid…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Maize defective kernel mutant generated by insertion of a Ds element in a gene encoding a highly conserved TTI2 cochaperone.

We have used the newly engineered transposable element Dsg to tag a gene that gives rise to a defective kernel (dek) phenotype. Dsg requires the autonomous element Ac for transposition. Upon excision, it leaves a short DNA footprint that can create in-frame and frameshift insertions in coding sequences. Therefore, we could create alleles of the tagged gene that confirmed causation of the dek phenotype by the Dsg insertion. The mutation, designated dek38-Dsg, is embryonic lethal, has a defective basal endosperm transfer (BETL) layer, and results in a smaller seed with highly underdeveloped endosperm. The maize dek38 gene encodes a TTI2…

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Sunday, July 7, 2019

Comparative genomics of maize ear rot pathogens reveals expansion of carbohydrate-active enzymes and secondary metabolism backbone genes in Stenocarpella maydis.

Stenocarpella maydis is a plant pathogenic fungus that causes Diplodia ear rot, one of the most destructive diseases of maize. To date, little information is available regarding the molecular basis of pathogenesis in this organism, in part due to limited genomic resources. In this study, a 54.8 Mb draft genome assembly of S. maydis was obtained with Illumina and PacBio sequencing technologies, and analyzed. Comparative genomic analyses with the predominant maize ear rot pathogens Aspergillus flavus, Fusarium verticillioides, and Fusarium graminearum revealed an expanded set of carbohydrate-active enzymes for cellulose and hemicellulose degradation in S. maydis. Analyses of predicted genes…

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