In the last decade, a variety of innovations of emerging technologies in science have been accomplished. Advanced research environment in plant science has made it possible to obtain whole genome sequence in plant species. But now we recognize this by itself is not sufficient to understand the overall biological significance. Since Gregor Mendel established a principle of genetics, known as Mendel’s Laws of Inheritance, genetics plays a prominent role in life science, and this aspect is indispensable even in modern plant biology. In this review, we focus on achievements of genetics on plant sexual reproduction research in the last decade and discuss the role of genetics for the coming decade. It is our hope that this will shed light on the importance of genetics in plant biology and provide valuable information to plant biologists.
CMS (cytoplasmic male sterile) rapeseed is produced by asymmetrical somatic cell fusion between the Brassica napus cv. Westar and the Raphanus sativus Kosena CMS line (Kosena radish). The CMS rapeseed contains a CMS gene, orf125, which is derived from Kosena radish. Our sequence analyses revealed that the orf125 region in CMS rapeseed originated from recombination between the orf125/orfB region and the nad1C/ccmFN1 region by way of a 63 bp repeat. A precise sequence comparison among the related sequences in CMS rapeseed, Kosena radish and normal rapeseed showed that the orf125 region in CMS rapeseed consisted of the Kosena orf125/orfB region and the rapeseed nad1C/ccmFN1 region, even though Kosena radish had both the orf125/orfB region and the nad1C/ccmFN1 region in its mitochondrial genome. We also identified three tandem repeat sequences in the regions surrounding orf125, including a 63 bp repeat, which were involved in several recombination events. Interestingly, differences in the recombination activity for each repeat sequence were observed, even though these sequences were located adjacent to each other in the mitochondrial genome. We report results indicating that recombination events within the mitochondrial genomes are regulated at the level of specific repeat sequences depending on the cellular environment.
The ribosomal protein S16 (RPS16), the product of the rps16, is generally encoded in the chloroplast genomes of flowering plants. However, it has been reported that chloroplast-encoded RPS16 in mono- and dicotyledonous plants has been substituted by the product of nuclear-encoded rps16, which was transferred from the mitochondria to the nucleus before the early divergence of angiosperms. Current databases show that the chloroplast-encoded rps16 has become a pseudogene in four species of the Brassicaceae (Aethionema grandiflorum, Arabis hirsuta, Draba nemorosa, and Lobularia maritima). Further analysis of Arabidopsis thaliana and its close relatives has shown that pseudogenization has also occurred via the loss of its splicing capacity (Arabidopsis thaliana and Olimarabidopsis pumila). In contrast, the spliced product of chloroplast-encoded rps16 is observed in close relatives of Arabidopsis thaliana (Arabidopsis arenosa, Arabidopsis lyrata, and Crucihimalaya lasiocarpa). In this study, we identified the different functional status of rps16 in several chloroplast genomes in the genus Arabidopsis and its close relatives. Our results strongly suggest that nuclear- and chloroplast-encoded rps16 genes coexisted for at least 126 million years. We raise the possibility of the widespread pseudogenization of rps16 in the angiosperm chloroplast genomes via the loss of its splicing capacity, even when the rps16 encoded in the chloroplast genome is transcriptionally active.
The causal gene of a novel small and round seed mutant 1 (srs1) was identified in rice by map-based cloning and named SMALL AND ROUND SEED 1 (SRS1). The SRS1 gene is identical to the previously identified DENSE AND ERECT PANICLE 2 (DEP2). The SRS1/DEP2 gene encodes a novel protein of 1365 amino acids residues without known functional domains. In the longitudinal direction of the lemma, both cell length and cell number are reduced in srs1-1 compared to the wild type, whereas in the lateral cross section of the lemma, cell length in srs1-1 is greater than that in the wild type, but the cell number in srs1-1 is the same as that in wild type. These results suggest that the small and round seed phenotype of srs1-1 is due to the reduction in both cell length and cell number in the longitudinal direction, and the elongation of the cells in the lateral direction of the lemma. The SRS1 mRNA and proteins are abundant in wild type rice specifically in young organs, namely young leaves, internodes and panicles. Interestingly, the tissues expressing SRS1 are closely related to the tissues that exhibit abnormalities in the srs1 mutants.
By analyzing three multigene families, two closely related and commercially important species, Dicentrarchus labrax and Dicentrarchus punctatus, were characterized by cytogenetic and molecular methods. The interspecies hybrid Dicentrarchus labrax (♀) × Dicentrarchus punctatus (♂) was also analyzed. The multigene families studied were the 5S rDNA, 45S rDNA and the U2 snRNA. A microsatellite GTT motif was found within the non transcribed spacers (NTS) of the 5S rDNA from the two species. However, hexanucleotide duplication next to this microsatellite was observed in the D. labrax and hybrid clones, but not in D. punctatus. The U2 snRNA appeared to be linked to the U5 gene and showed two variant sequences, in both D. labrax and D. punctatus. They differed in one insertion/deletion of 7 nucleotides. The first internal transcribed spacer (ITS-1) region showed higher nucleotide variability in D. punctatus than in D. labrax. Nucleotide polymorphism within species and also nucleotide divergence between species were determined in the different gene regions. In a FISH analysis we obtained three chromosomal markers, because the 5S rDNA, 18S rDNA and U2 snRNA probes hybridized each in three different chromosome pairs. Hence none of them was co-localized. The 5S rDNA cluster and U2 snRNA were localized in acrocentric chromosome pairs, while the 18S rRNA gene probe hybridized in a subtelocentric pair. Finally, the usefulness of the results in developing tools for phylogenetic analysis and species identification are discussed in relation to other fish species.
Largemouth bronze gudgeon (Coreius guichenoti Sauvage et Dabry 1874), one of the endemic fish species in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River in China, is a benthic and potamodromous fish that is typically found in rivers with torrential flow. Three dams in the Yangtze River, Ertan Dam, Three Gorges Dam and Gezhouba Dam, may have had vital impacts on the habitat and spawning behaviors of largemouth bronze gudgeon, and could ultimately threaten the survival of this fish. We studied the population genetic diversity of C. guichenoti samples collected at seven sites (JH, GLP, BX, HJ, MD, SDP and XB) within the Yangtze River and one of its tributaries, the Yalong River. Genetic diversity patterns were determined by analyzing genetic data from 11 polymorphic microsatellite loci. A high genetic diversity among these largemouth bronze gudgeon populations was indicated by the number of microsatellite alleles (A) and the expected heterozygosity (HE). No significant population variation occurred among GLP, BX, HJ and MD populations, but dramatic population differentiation was observed among JH and XB, two dam-blocked populations, versus other populations. Tests for bottlenecks did not indicate recent dramatic population declines and concurrent losses of genetic diversity in any largemouth bronze gudgeon populations. To the contrary, we found that dams accelerated the population differentiation of this fish.