Development of a seed DNA-based genotyping system for marker-assisted selection (MAS) has provided a novel opportunity for understanding aberrant reproductive phenomena such as hetero-fertilization (HF) by observing the mismatch of endosperm and leaf genotypes in monocot species. In contrast to conventional approaches using specific morphological markers, this approach can be used for any population derived from diverse parental genotypes. A large-scale experiment was implemented using seven F(2) populations and four three-way cross populations, each with 534 to 1024 individuals. The frequency of HF within these populations ranged from 0.14% to 3.12%, with an average of 1.46%. The highest frequency of HF in both types of population was contributed by the pollen gametes. Using three-way crosses allowed, for the first time, detection of the HF contributed by maternal gametes, albeit at very low frequency (0.14%-0.65%). Four HF events identified from each of two F(2) populations were tested and confirmed using 1032 single nucleotide polymorphic markers. This analysis indicated that only 50% of polymorphic markers can detect a known HF event, and thus the real HF frequency can be inferred by doubling the estimate obtained from using only one polymorphic marker. As expected, 99% of the HF events can be detected by using seven independent markers in combination. Although seed DNA-based analysis may wrongly predict plant genotypes due to the mismatch of endosperm and leaf DNA caused by HF, the relatively low HF frequencies revealed with diverse germplasm in this study indicates that the effect on the accuracy of MAS is limited. In addition, comparative endosperm and leaf DNA analysis of specific genetic stocks could be useful for revealing the relationships among various aberrant fertilization phenomena including haploidy and apomixis.
We report results relating to the thermal stability of nanoparticles and show a remarkable effect of nanostructuring of the metal. Au films are nanostructured by focused ion beam sputtering (FIB) to produce isolated areas of metal, which are imaged by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Images of the surface show that, if the islands are made small enough, the metal in the islands is lost by evaporation, whereas the nonfabricated areas outside are relatively stable and the nanoparticles remain present there.
Characterization of genetic diversity is of great value to assist breeders in parental line selection and breeding system design. We screened 770 maize inbred lines with 1,034 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) markers and identified 449 high-quality markers with no germplasm-specific biasing effects. Pairwise comparisons across three distinct sets of germplasm, CIMMYT (394), China (282), and Brazil (94), showed that the elite lines from these diverse breeding pools have been developed with only limited utilization of genetic diversity existing in the center of origin. Temperate and tropical/subtropical germplasm clearly clustered into two separate groups. The temperate germplasm could be further divided into six groups consistent with known heterotic patterns. The greatest genetic divergence was observed between temperate and tropical/subtropical lines, followed by the divergence between yellow and white kernel lines, whereas the least divergence was observed between dent and flint lines. Long-term selection for hybrid performance has contributed to significant allele differentiation between heterotic groups at 20% of the SNP loci. There appeared to be substantial levels of genetic variation between different breeding pools as revealed by missing and unique alleles. Two SNPs developed from the same candidate gene were associated with the divergence between two opposite Chinese heterotic groups. Associated allele frequency change at two SNPs and their allele missing in Brazilian germplasm indicated a linkage disequilibrium block of 142 kb. These results confirm the power of SNP markers for diversity analysis and provide a feasible approach to unique allele discovery and use in maize breeding programs.
A newly developed maize Illumina GoldenGate Assay with 1536 SNPs from 582 loci was used to genotype a highly diverse global maize collection of 632 inbred lines from temperate, tropical, and subtropical public breeding programs. A total of 1229 informative SNPs and 1749 haplotypes within 327 loci was used to estimate the genetic diversity, population structure, and familial relatedness. Population structure identified tropical and temperate subgroups, and complex familial relationships were identified within the global collection. Linkage disequilibrium (LD) was measured overall and within chromosomes, allelic frequency groups, subgroups related by geographic origin, and subgroups of different sample sizes. The LD decay distance differed among chromosomes and ranged between 1 to 10 kb. The LD distance increased with the increase of minor allelic frequency (MAF), and with smaller sample sizes, encouraging caution when using too few lines in a study. The LD decay distance was much higher in temperate than in tropical and subtropical lines, because tropical and subtropical lines are more diverse and contain more rare alleles than temperate lines. A core set of inbreds was defined based on haplotypes, and 60 lines capture 90% of the haplotype diversity of the entire panel. The defined core sets and the entire collection can be used widely for different research targets.
Maize is an important crop for food, feed, forage, and fuel across tropical and temperate areas of the world. Diversity studies at genetic, molecular, and functional levels have revealed that, tropical maize germplasm, landraces, and wild relatives harbor a significantly wider range of genetic variation. Among all types of markers, SNP markers are increasingly the marker-of-choice for all genomics applications in maize breeding. Genetic mapping has been developed through conventional linkage mapping and more recently through linkage disequilibrium-based association analyses. Maize genome sequencing, initially focused on gene-rich regions, now aims for the availability of complete genome sequence. Conventional insertion mutation-based cloning has been complemented recently by EST- and map-based cloning. Transgenics and nutritional genomics are rapidly advancing fields targeting important agronomic traits including pest resistance and grain quality. Substantial advances have been made in methodologies for genomics-assisted breeding, enhancing progress in yield as well as abiotic and biotic stress resistances. Various genomic databases and informatics tools have been developed, among which MaizeGDB is the most developed and widely used by the maize research community. In the future, more emphasis should be given to the development of tools and strategic germplasm resources for more effective molecular breeding of tropical maize products.
Phytoene synthase (PSY), which is encoded by the phytoene synthase 1 (PSY1) gene, is the first rate-limiting enzyme in the plant carotenoid biosynthetic pathway. In order to examine the genetic diversity and evolution pattern of PSY1 within the Andropogoneae, sequences of 76 accessions from 5 species (maize, teosinte, tripsacum, coix, and sorghum) of the Andropogoneae were tested, along with 4 accessions of rice (Oryza sativa L.) included as outliers. Both the number and the order of exons and introns were relatively conserved across the species tested. Three domains were identified in the coding sequence, including signal peptide (SP), PSY, and highly conserved squalene synthase (SQS) domain. Although no positive selection signal was detected at an overall coding level among all species tested, the SP domain and the region upstream of the SQS-PSY domain appear to have undergone rapid evolution, as evidenced by a high d (N)/d (S) ratio (>1.0). At the nucleotide level, positive selection and balancing selection were detected only among the yellow maize germplasm and the white maize germplasm, respectively. The phylogenetic tree based on full-length sequences of PSY1-like regions supported the monophyletic theory of the Andropogoneae and the closest relationship between Zea and Tripsacum among the Andropogoneae. Coix, which was theorized to have a closer relationship with maize due to similarities in morphology and chromosome number, has been shown in this study to have diverged relatively early from the other Andropogoneae, including maize.
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