April 21, 2020  |  

Petunia-and Arabidopsis-Specific Root Microbiota Responses to Phosphate Supplementation

Phosphorus (P) is a limiting element for plant growth. Several root microbes, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), have the capacity to improve plant nutrition and their abundance is known to depend on P fertility. However, how complex root-associated bacterial and fungal communities respond to various levels of P supplementation remains ill-defined. Here we investigated the responses of the root-associated bacteria and fungi to varying levels of P supply using 16S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer amplicon sequencing. We grew Petunia, which forms symbiosis with AMF, and the nonmycorrhizal model species Arabidopsis as a control in a soil that is limiting in plant-available P and we then supplemented the plants with complete fertilizer solutions that varied only in their phosphate concentrations. We searched for microbes, whose abundances varied by P fertilization, tested whether a core microbiota responding to the P treatments could be identified and asked whether bacterial and fungal co-occurrence patterns change in response to the varying P levels. Root microbiota composition varied substantially in response to the varying P application. A core microbiota was not identified as different bacterial and fungal groups responded to low-P conditions in Arabidopsis and Petunia. Microbes with P-dependent abundance patterns included Mortierellomycotina in Arabidopsis, while in Petunia, they included AMF and their symbiotic endobacteria. Of note, the P-dependent root colonization by AMF was reliably quantified by sequencing. The fact that the root microbiotas of the two plant species responded differently to low-P conditions suggests that plant species specificity would need to be considered for the eventual development of microbial products that improve plant P nutrition.


April 21, 2020  |  

Mutation of a bHLH transcription factor allowed almond domestication.

Wild almond species accumulate the bitter and toxic cyanogenic diglucoside amygdalin. Almond domestication was enabled by the selection of genotypes harboring sweet kernels. We report the completion of the almond reference genome. Map-based cloning using an F1 population segregating for kernel taste led to the identification of a 46-kilobase gene cluster encoding five basic helix-loop-helix transcription factors, bHLH1 to bHLH5. Functional characterization demonstrated that bHLH2 controls transcription of the P450 monooxygenase-encoding genes PdCYP79D16 and PdCYP71AN24, which are involved in the amygdalin biosynthetic pathway. A nonsynonymous point mutation (Leu to Phe) in the dimerization domain of bHLH2 prevents transcription of the two cytochrome P450 genes, resulting in the sweet kernel trait. Copyright © 2019 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. No claim to original U.S. Government Works.


April 21, 2020  |  

Genome assembly of a tropical maize inbred line provides insights into structural variation and crop improvement.

Maize is one of the most important crops globally, and it shows remarkable genetic diversity. Knowledge of this diversity could help in crop improvement; however, gold-standard genomes have been elucidated only for modern temperate varieties. Here, we present a high-quality reference genome (contig N50 of 15.78?megabases) of the maize small-kernel inbred line, which is derived from a tropical landrace. Using haplotype maps derived from B73, Mo17 and SK, we identified 80,614 polymorphic structural variants across 521 diverse lines. Approximately 22% of these variants could not be detected by traditional single-nucleotide-polymorphism-based approaches, and some of them could affect gene expression and trait performance. To illustrate the utility of the diverse SK line, we used it to perform map-based cloning of a major effect quantitative trait locus controlling kernel weight-a key trait selected during maize improvement. The underlying candidate gene ZmBARELY ANY MERISTEM1d provides a target for increasing crop yields.


April 21, 2020  |  

Comparative analysis of proteomic and metabolomic profiles of different species of Paris.

An extract prepared from species of Paris is the most widely consumed herbal product in China. The genus Paris includes a variety of genotypes with different medicinal component contents but only two are defined as official sources. Closely related species have different medicinal properties because of differential expression of proteins and metabolites. To better understand the molecular basis of these differences, we examined proteomic and metabolomic changes in rhizomes of P. polyphylla var. chinensis, P. polyphylla var. yunnanensis, and P. fargesii var. fargesii using a technique known as sequential window acquisition of all theoretical mass spectra as well as gas chromatography-time-of-flight mass spectrometry. In total, 419 proteins showed significant abundance changes, and 33 metabolites could be used to discriminate Paris species. A complex analysis of proteomic and metabolomic data revealed a higher efficiency of sucrose utilization and an elevated protein abundance in the sugar metabolic pathway of P. polyphylla var. chinensis. The pyruvate content and efficiency of acetyl-CoA-utilization in saponin biosynthesis were also higher in P. polyphylla var. chinensis than in the other two species. The results expand our understanding of the proteome and metabolome of Paris and offer new insights into the species-specific traits of these herbaceous plants. SIGNIFICANCE: The traditional Chinese medicine Paris is the most widely consumed herbal product for the treatment of joint pain, rheumatoid arthritis and antineoplastic. All Paris species have roughly the same morphological characteristics; however, different members have different medicinal compound contents. Efficient exploitation of genetic diversity is a key factor in the development of rare medicinal plants with improved agronomic traits and malleability to challenging environmental conditions. Nevertheless, only a partial understanding of physiological and molecular mechanisms of different plants of Paris can be achieved without proteomics. To better understand the molecular basis of these differences and facilitate the use of other Paris species, we examine proteomic metabolomic changes in rhizomes of Paris using the technique known as SWATH-MS and GC/TOF-MS. Our research has provided information that can be used in other studies to compare metabolic traits in different Paris species. Our findings can also serve as a theoretical basis for the selection and cultivation of other Paris species with a higher medicinal value. Copyright © 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


April 21, 2020  |  

Development of CRISPR-Cas systems for genome editing and beyond

The development of clustered regularly interspaced short-palindromic repeat (CRISPR)-Cas systems for genome editing has transformed the way life science research is conducted and holds enormous potential for the treatment of disease as well as for many aspects of biotech- nology. Here, I provide a personal perspective on the development of CRISPR-Cas9 for genome editing within the broader context of the field and discuss our work to discover novel Cas effectors and develop them into additional molecular tools. The initial demonstra- tion of Cas9-mediated genome editing launched the development of many other technologies, enabled new lines of biological inquiry, and motivated a deeper examination of natural CRISPR-Cas systems, including the discovery of new types of CRISPR-Cas systems. These new discoveries in turn spurred further technological developments. I review these exciting discoveries and technologies as well as provide an overview of the broad array of applications of these technologies in basic research and in the improvement of human health. It is clear that we are only just beginning to unravel the potential within microbial diversity, and it is quite likely that we will continue to discover other exciting phenomena, some of which it may be possible to repurpose as molecular technologies. The transformation of mysterious natural phenomena to powerful tools, however, takes a collective effort to discover, characterize, and engineer them, and it has been a privilege to join the numerous researchers who have contributed to this transformation of CRISPR-Cas systems.


April 21, 2020  |  

Wild relatives of maize

Crop domestication changed the course of human evolution, and domestication of maize (Zea mays L. subspecies mays), today the world’s most important crop, enabled civilizations to flourish and has played a major role in shaping the world we know today. Archaeological and ethnobotanical research help us understand the development of the cultures and the movements of the peoples who carried maize to new areas where it continued to adapt. Ancient remains of maize cobs and kernels have been found in the place of domestication, the Balsas River Valley (~9,000 years before present era), and the cultivation center, the Tehuacan Valley (~5,000 years before present era), and have been used to study the process of domestication. Paleogenomic data showed that some of the genes controlling the stem and inflorescence architecture were comparable to modern maize, while other genes controlling ear shattering and starch biosynthesis retain high levels of variability, similar to those found in the wild relative teosinte. These results indicate that the domestication process was both gradual and complex, where different genetic loci were selected at different points in time, and that the transformation of teosinte to maize was completed in the last 5,000 years. Mesoamerican native cultures domesticated teosinte and developed maize from a 6 cm long, popping-kernel ear to what we now recognize as modern maize with its wide variety in ear size, kernel texture, color, size, and adequacy for diverse uses and also invented nixtamalization, a process key to maximizing its nutrition. Used directly for human and animal consumption, processed food products, bioenergy, and many cultural applications, it is now grown on six of the world’s seven continents. The study of its evolution and domestication from the wild grass teosinte helps us understand the nature of genetic diversity of maize and its wild relatives and gene expression. Genetic barriers to direct use of teosinte or Tripsacum in maize breeding have challenged our ability to identify valuable genes and traits, let alone incorporate them into elite, modern varieties. Genomic information and newer genetic technologies will facilitate the use of wild relatives in crop improvement; hence it is more important than ever to ensure their conservation and availability, fundamental to future food security. In situ conservation efforts dedicated to preserving remnant populations of wild relatives in Mexico are key to safeguarding the genetic diversity of maize and its genepool, as well as enabling these species to continue to adapt to dynamic climate and environmental changes. Genebank ex situ efforts are crucial to securely maintain collected wild relative resources and to provide them for gene discovery and other research efforts.


April 21, 2020  |  

Extensive intraspecific gene order and gene structural variations in upland cotton cultivars.

Multiple cotton genomes (diploid and tetraploid) have been assembled. However, genomic variations between cultivars of allotetraploid upland cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.), the most widely planted cotton species in the world, remain unexplored. Here, we use single-molecule long read and Hi-C sequencing technologies to assemble genomes of the two upland cotton cultivars TM-1 and zhongmiansuo24 (ZM24). Comparisons among TM-1 and ZM24 assemblies and the genomes of the diploid ancestors reveal a large amount of genetic variations. Among them, the top three longest structural variations are located on chromosome A08 of the tetraploid upland cotton, which account for ~30% total length of this chromosome. Haplotype analyses of the mapping population derived from these two cultivars and the germplasm panel show suppressed recombination rates in this region. This study provides additional genomic resources for the community, and the identified genetic variations, especially the reduced meiotic recombination on chromosome A08, will help future breeding.


April 21, 2020  |  

A reference-grade wild soybean genome.

Efficient crop improvement depends on the application of accurate genetic information contained in diverse germplasm resources. Here we report a reference-grade genome of wild soybean accession W05, with a final assembled genome size of 1013.2?Mb and a contig N50 of 3.3?Mb. The analytical power of the W05 genome is demonstrated by several examples. First, we identify an inversion at the locus determining seed coat color during domestication. Second, a translocation event between chromosomes 11 and 13 of some genotypes is shown to interfere with the assignment of QTLs. Third, we find a region containing copy number variations of the Kunitz trypsin inhibitor (KTI) genes. Such findings illustrate the power of this assembly in the analysis of large structural variations in soybean germplasm collections. The wild soybean genome assembly has wide applications in comparative genomic and evolutionary studies, as well as in crop breeding and improvement programs.


April 21, 2020  |  

The Impact of cDNA Normalization on Long-Read Sequencing of a Complex Transcriptome

Normalization of cDNA is widely used to improve the coverage of rare transcripts in analysis of transcriptomes employing next-generation sequencing. Recently, long-read technology has been emerging as a powerful tool for sequencing and construction of transcriptomes, especially for complex genomes containing highly similar transcripts and transcript-spliced isoforms. Here, we analyzed the transcriptome of sugarcane, with a highly polyploidy plant genome, by PacBio isoform sequencing (Iso-Seq) of two different cDNA library preparations, with and without a normalization step. The results demonstrated that, while the two libraries included many of the same transcripts, many longer transcripts were removed and many new generally shorter transcripts were detected by normalization. For the same input cDNA and the same data yield, the normalized library recovered more total transcript isoforms, number of predicted gene families and orthologous groups, resulting in a higher representation for the sugarcane transcriptome, compared to the non-normalized library. The non-normalized library, on the other hand, included a wider transcript length range with more longer transcripts above ~1.25 kb, more transcript isoforms per gene family and gene ontology terms per transcript. A large proportion of the unique transcripts comprising ~52% of the normalized library were expressed at a lower level than the unique transcripts from the non-normalized library, across three tissue types tested including leaf, stalk and root. About 83% of the total 5,348 predicted long noncoding transcripts was derived from the normalized library, of which ~80% was derived from the lowly expressed fraction. Functional annotation of the unique transcripts suggested that each library enriched different functional transcript fractions. This demonstrated the complementation of the two approaches in obtaining a complete transcriptome of a complex genome at the sequencing depth used in this study.


April 21, 2020  |  

A Pathovar of Xanthomonas oryzae Infecting Wild Grasses Provides Insight Into the Evolution of Pathogenicity in Rice Agroecosystems

Xanthomonas oryzae (Xo) are critical rice pathogens. Virulent lineages from Africa and Asia and less virulent strains from the US have been well characterized. X. campestris pv. leersiae (Xcl), first described in 1957, causes bacterial streak on the perennial grass, Leersia hexandra, and is a close relative of Xo. L. hexandra, a member of the Poaceae, is highly similar to rice phylogenetically, is globally ubiquitous around rice paddies, and is a reservoir of pathogenic Xo. We used long read, single molecule, real time (SMRT) genome sequences of five strains of Xcl from Burkina Faso, China, Mali and Uganda to determine the genetic relatedness of this organism with Xo. Novel Transcription Activator-Like Effectors (TALEs) were discovered in all five strains of Xcl. Predicted TALE target sequences were identified in the L. perrieri genome and compared to rice susceptibility gene homologs. Pathogenicity screening on L. hexandra and diverse rice cultivars confirmed that Xcl are able to colonize rice and produce weak but not progressive symptoms. Overall, based on average nucleotide identity, type III effector repertoires and disease phenotype, we propose to rename Xcl to X. oryzae pv. leersiae (Xol) and use this parallel system to improve understanding of the evolution of bacterial pathogenicity in rice agroecosystems.


April 21, 2020  |  

Closing the Yield Gap for Cannabis: A Meta-Analysis of Factors Determining Cannabis Yield.

Until recently, the commercial production of Cannabis sativa was restricted to varieties that yielded high-quality fiber while producing low levels of the psychoactive cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). In the last few years, a number of jurisdictions have legalized the production of medical and/or recreational cannabis with higher levels of THC, and other jurisdictions seem poised to follow suit. Consequently, demand for industrial-scale production of high yield cannabis with consistent cannabinoid profiles is expected to increase. In this paper we highlight that currently, projected annual production of cannabis is based largely on facility size, not yield per square meter. This meta-analysis of cannabis yields reported in scientific literature aimed to identify the main factors contributing to cannabis yield per plant, per square meter, and per W of lighting electricity. In line with previous research we found that variety, plant density, light intensity and fertilization influence cannabis yield and cannabinoid content; we also identified pot size, light type and duration of the flowering period as predictors of yield and THC accumulation. We provide insight into the critical role of light intensity, quality, and photoperiod in determining cannabis yields, with particular focus on the potential for light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to improve growth and reduce energy requirements. We propose that the vast amount of genomics data currently available for cannabis can be used to better understand the effect of genotype on yield. Finally, we describe diversification that is likely to emerge in cannabis growing systems and examine the potential role of plant-growth promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) for growth promotion, regulation of cannabinoid biosynthesis, and biocontrol.


April 21, 2020  |  

The wild sweetpotato (Ipomoea trifida) genome provides insights into storage root development.

Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.) is the seventh most important crop in the world and is mainly cultivated for its underground storage root (SR). The genetic studies of this species have been hindered by a lack of high-quality reference sequence due to its complex genome structure. Diploid Ipomoea trifida is the closest relative and putative progenitor of sweetpotato, which is considered a model species for sweetpotato, including genetic, cytological, and physiological analyses.Here, we generated the chromosome-scale genome sequence of SR-forming diploid I. trifida var. Y22 with high heterozygosity (2.20%). Although the chromosome-based synteny analysis revealed that the I. trifida shared conserved karyotype with Ipomoea nil after the separation, I. trifida had a much smaller genome than I. nil due to more efficient eliminations of LTR-retrotransposons and lack of species-specific amplification bursts of LTR-RTs. A comparison with four non-SR-forming species showed that the evolution of the beta-amylase gene family may be related to SR formation. We further investigated the relationship of the key gene BMY11 (with identity 47.12% to beta-amylase 1) with this important agronomic trait by both gene expression profiling and quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping. And combining SR morphology and structure, gene expression profiling and qPCR results, we deduced that the products of the activity of BMY11 in splitting starch granules and be recycled to synthesize larger granules, contributing to starch accumulation and SR swelling. Moreover, we found the expression pattern of BMY11, sporamin proteins and the key genes involved in carbohydrate metabolism and stele lignification were similar to that of sweetpotato during the SR development.We constructed the high-quality genome reference of the highly heterozygous I. trifida through a combined approach and this genome enables a better resolution of the genomics feature and genome evolutions of this species. Sweetpotato SR development genes can be identified in I. trifida and these genes perform similar functions and patterns, showed that the diploid I. trifida var. Y22 with typical SR could be considered an ideal model for the studies of sweetpotato SR development.


April 21, 2020  |  

A draft genome for Spatholobus suberectus.

Spatholobus suberectus Dunn (S. suberectus), which belongs to the Leguminosae, is an important medicinal plant in China. Owing to its long growth cycle and increased use in human medicine, wild resources of S. suberectus have decreased rapidly and may be on the verge of extinction. De novo assembly of the whole S. suberectus genome provides us a critical potential resource towards biosynthesis of the main bioactive components and seed development regulation mechanism of this plant. Utilizing several sequencing technologies such as Illumina HiSeq X Ten, single-molecule real-time sequencing, 10x Genomics, as well as new assembly techniques such as FALCON and chromatin interaction mapping (Hi-C), we assembled a chromosome-scale genome about 798?Mb in size. In total, 748?Mb (93.73%) of the contig sequences were anchored onto nine chromosomes with the longest scaffold being 103.57?Mb. Further annotation analyses predicted 31,634 protein-coding genes, of which 93.9% have been functionally annotated. All data generated in this study is available in public databases.


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