July 7, 2019  |  

Leafy spurge genomics: A model perennial weed to investigate development, stress responses, and invasiveness

Authors: Horvath, David and Anderson, James V and Chao, Wun S and Foley, Michael E and Dogramaci, Münevver

Leafy spurge is wild flower native to Europe that has become an invasive perennial weed in the northern great plains of the USA and Canada. Leafy spurge primarily infests range and recreation lands and costs US land managers millions dollars annually. In its invaded range, leafy spurge can form vast monocultures that significantly impact native flora and fauna and has been attributed to reduced populations of endangered species such as the prairie fringed orchid. Leafy spurge has remarkable plasticity and can persist under environmental extremes---primarily due to the formation of hundreds of underground adventitious buds that can form on its extensive and deep root system. We have developed genomics-based tools to assist our investigations related to vegetative production from these underground buds, as well as its responses to stress, and the potential mechanisms leading to the invasiveness of leafy spurge. Towards these ends, we have utilized Sanger-based sequencing to develop EST-databases from leafy spurge and cassava (a related species) transcriptomes, and developed textasciitilde23,000 element cDNA microarrays representing all of the unigenes identified in these databases. Additionally, numerous cDNA libraries and genomic libraries have been developed including bacterial artificial chromosome libraries useful for identifying and characterizing promoters of differentially expressed genes. Finally, to enhance our ability to identify promoter sequences and transcription factors involved in vegetative production, stress responses, and invasiveness, we have incorporated next generation sequencing approaches to fully sequence the leafy spurge genome. Using global transcriptome profiles, next generation sequencing, bioinformatics programs has provided insights into molecular mechanisms and regulatory pathways that make leafy spurge a particularly invasive and difficult weed to control.

DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-17157-9_5
Year: 2015

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