Products of interspecific crosses often show abnormal phenotypes such as sterility, weakness and inviability. These phenomena play an important role in speciation as mechanisms of postzygotic reproductive isolation (RI). During the past two decades, genetics studies in rice have characterized a number of gene loci responsible for postzygotic RI. I have identified 10 loci including three sets of epistatic networks in a single inter-subspecific cross (Oryza sativa ssp. indica × japonica). These results suggest that RI genes cause developmental dysfunction of vegetative and/or reproductive organs through a variety of molecular pathways. The latest molecular studies demonstrated that hybrid incompatibility is mainly due to deleterious interactions caused by species-specific mutations of two or more genes, mediated by proteins acting within the same molecular pathway. Because genetic interactions provide a perspective on gene function, epistatic networks are a key to the understanding of the molecular basis of postzygotic RI. In this review, I focus on recent progress in postzygotic RI studies in rice and discuss the evolutionary significance as well as implications for improving rice productivity.
Yellow mosaic disease (YMD) is one of the major diseases affecting mungbean (Vigna radiata (L.) Wilczek). In this study, we report the mapping of the quantitative trait locus (QTL) for mungbean yellow mosaic India virus (MYMIV) resistance in mungbean. An F8 recombinant inbred line (RIL) mapping population was generated in Thailand from a cross between NM10-12-1 (MYMIV resistance) and KPS2 (MYMIV susceptible). One hundred and twenty-two RILs and their parents were evaluated for MYMIV resistance in infested fields in India and Pakistan. A genetic linkage map was developed for the RIL population using simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. Composite interval mapping identified five QTLs for MYMIV resistance: three QTLs for India (qYMIV1, qYMIV2 and qYMIV3) and two QTLs for Pakistan (qYMIV4 and qYMIV5). qYMIV1, qYMIV2, qYMIV3, qYMIV4 and qYMIV5 explained 9.33%, 10.61%, 12.55%, 21.93% and 6.24% of variation in disease responses, respectively. qYMIV1 and qYMIV4 appeared to be the same locus and were common to a major QTL for MYMIV resistance in India identified previously using a different resistant mungbean.
Wheat landraces carry abundant genetic variation in heading and flowering times. Here, we studied flowering-related traits of two Nepalese varieties, KU-4770 and KU-180 and a Japanese wheat cultivar, Shiroganekomugi (SGK). These three wheat varieties showed similar flowering time in a common garden experiment. In total, five significant quantitative trait loci (QTLs) for three examined traits, the heading, flowering and maturation times, were detected using an F2 population of SGK/KU-4770. The QTLs were found at the Ppd-1 loci on chromosomes 2B and 2D and the 2B QTL was also confirmed in another F2 population of SGK/KU-180. The Ppd-D1 allele from SGK and the Ppd-B1 alleles from the two Nepalese varieties might be causal for early-flowering phenotype. The SGK Ppd-D1 allele contained a 2-kb deletion in the 5′ upstream region, indicating a photoperiod-insensitive Ppd-D1a allele. Real-time PCR analysis estimating the Ppd-B1 copy number revealed that the two Nepalese varieties included two intact Ppd-B1 copies, putatively resulting in photoperiod insensitivity and an early-flowering phenotype. The two photoperiod-insensitive Ppd-1 homoeoalleles could independently contribute to segregation of early-flowering individuals in the two F2 populations. Therefore, wheat landraces are genetic resources for discovery of alleles useful for improving wheat heading or flowering times.
In soybean, the I gene inhibits pigmentation over the entire seed coat, resulting in yellow seeds. It is thought that this suppression of seed coat pigmentation is due to naturally occurring RNA silencing of chalcone synthase genes (CHS silencing). Fully pigmented seeds can be found among harvested yellow seeds at a very low percentage. These seed coat pigmented (scp) mutants are generated from yellow soybeans by spontaneous recessive mutation of the I gene. A candidate for the I gene, GmIRCHS, contains a perfect inverted repeat (IR) of a CHS pseudogene (pseudoCHS3) and transcripts of GmIRCHS form a double-stranded CHS RNA that potentially triggers CHS silencing. One CHS gene, ICHS1, is located 680 bp downstream of GmIRCHS. Here, the GmIRCHS–ICHS1 cluster was compared in scp mutants of various origins. In these mutants, sequence divergence in the cluster resulted in complete or partial loss of GmIRCHS in at least the pseudoCHS3 region. This result is consistent with the notion that the IR of pseudoCHS3 is sufficient to induce CHS silencing, and further supports that GmIRCHS is the I gene.
Chemically induced polyploids were obtained by the colchicine treatment of shoot tips of Humulus lupulus L. ‘Sybilla’. Flow cytometry revealed that most of the treatments resulted in the production of tetraploids. The highest number of tetraploids was obtained when explants were immersed in 0.05% colchicine for 48 h. A field experiment was conducted to compare diploid and tetraploid plants and assess the effect of genome polyploidization on the morphological and chemical characteristics. Tetraploids showed significant differences in relation to diploids. They had thinner and shorter shoots. The influence of chromosome doubling was also reflected in the length, width and area of leaves. The length of female flowers in the tetraploids was significantly shorter than that observed in diploids. Tetraploids produced a diverse number of lupuline glands that were almost twice as large as those observed in diploids. The most distinct effect of genome polyploidization was a significant increase in the weight of cones and spindles. Contents of major chemical constituents of hop cones was little affected by ploidy level. Total essential oils were significantly lower than those in diploids. However there was a significant increase in the proportion of humulene, caryophyllene and farnesene, oils desired by the brewing industry.
Factors affecting reliable plant regeneration from unfertilized ovule culture of gentians (Gentiana spp.) were examined. Cold pretreatment (4°C) of flower buds enhanced or maintained production of embryo-like structure (ELS). When 43 genotypes were surveyed in two different labs, 40 of them produced ELSs ranging from 0.01 to 26.5 ELSs per flower bud. No ELSs could be obtained in three genotypes. A significant correlation (r = 0.64) was observed between the number of ELS per flower and the frequency of responding flower buds. Eight genotypes of G. triflora, which were used as common materials in two different labs, produced ELSs in both labs. The ploidy levels of a total of 1,515 regenerated plantlets were determined, revealing that the majority of these plants consisted of haploids (57.9%) and diploids (34.3%). However, the frequency of haploids and diploids was different between G. triflora and G. scabra, and G. triflora showed higher frequencies of haploids than G. scabra. When haploids were treated with oryzalin for chromosome doubling, diploids and tetraploids were obtained. These results demonstrate that the unfertilized ovule culture technique of gentians is a powerful tool for obtaining haploids and DHs because of its reproducible and reliable nature and application to a wide range of genotypes.
Aluminum (Al) toxicity is the key factor limiting wheat production in acid soils. Soil liming has been used widely to increase the soil pH, but due to its high cost, breeding tolerant cultivars is more cost-effective mean to mitigate the problem. Tolerant cultivars could be developed by traditional breeding, genetic transformation or introgression of genes from wild relatives. We used 30 wheat alien chromosome addition lines to identify new genetic resources to improve wheat tolerance to Al and to identify the chromosomes harboring the tolerance genes. We evaluated these lines and their wheat background Chinese Spring for Al tolerance in hydroponic culture at various Al concentrations. We also investigated Al uptake, oxidative stress and cell membrane integrity. The L. racemosus chromosomes A and E significantly enhanced the Al tolerance of the wheat in term of relative root growth. At the highest Al concentration tested (200 μM), line E had the greatest tolerance. The introgressed chromosomes did not affect Al uptake of the tolerant lines. We attribute the improved tolerance conferred by chromosome E to improved cell membrane integrity. Chromosome engineering with these two lines could produce Al-tolerant wheat cultivars.
Soybean dwarf virus (SbDV), a Luteoviridae family member, causes dwarfing, yellowing and sterility of soybean (Glycine max), leading to one of the most serious problems in soybean production in northern Japan. Previous studies revealed that the Indonesian soybean cultivar ‘Wilis’ is resistant to SbDV and that the resistance can be introduced into Japanese cultivars. A major QTL for SbDV resistance has been reported between SSR markers Sat_217 and Satt211 on chromosome 5. In this study, we named this QTL Rsdv1 (resistance to SbDV) and developed near-isogenic lines incorporating Rsdv1 (Rsdv1-NILs) using Sat_217 and Satt211 markers. The Rsdv1-NILs were resistant to SbDV in greenhouse inoculation and field tests, indicating that Rsdv1 alone is sufficient for the resistance phenotype. We fine-mapped Rsdv1 within the 44-kb region between Sat_11 and Sct_13. None of the six genes predicted in this region was closely related to known virus resistance genes in plants. Thus, Rsdv1 may confer resistance by a previously unknown mechanism. We suggest that Rsdv1 may be a useful source for the Japanese soybean breeding program to introduce SbDV resistance.
Synthetic hexaploid wheat is an effective genetic resource for transferring agronomically important genes from Aegilops tauschii to common wheat. Wide variation in grain size and shape, one of the main targets for wheat breeding, has been observed among Ae. tauschii accessions. To identify the quantitative trait loci (QTLs) responsible for grain size and shape variation in the wheat D genome under a hexaploid genetic background, six parameters related to grain size and shape were measured using SmartGrain digital image software and QTL analysis was conducted using four F2 mapping populations of wheat synthetic hexaploids. In total, 18 QTLs for the six parameters were found on five of the seven D-genome chromosomes. The identified QTLs significantly contributed to the variation in grain size and shape among the synthetic wheat lines, implying that the D-genome QTLs might be at least partly functional in hexaploid wheat. Thus, synthetic wheat lines with diverse D genomes from Ae. tauschii are useful resources for the identification of agronomically important loci that function in hexaploid wheat.
Barley (Hordeum vulgare) is one of the world’s most important cereal crops. Although its large and complex genome has held back barley genomics for quite a while, the whole genome sequence was released in 2012 by the International Barley Genome Sequencing Consortium (IBSC). Moreover, more than 30,000 barley full-length cDNAs (FLcDNAs) are now available in the public domain. Here we present the Barley Gene Expression Database (bex-db: http://barleyflc.dna.affrc.go.jp/bexdb/index.html) as a repository of transcriptome data including the sequences and the expression profiles of barley genes resulting from microarray analysis. In addition to FLcDNA sequences, bex-db also contains partial sequences of more than 309,000 novel expressed sequence tags (ESTs). Users can browse the data via keyword, sequence homology and expression profile search options. A genome browser was also developed to display the chromosomal locations of barley FLcDNAs and wheat (Triticum aestivum) transcripts as well as Aegilops tauschii gene models on the IBSC genome sequence for future comparative analysis of orthologs among Triticeae species. The bex-db should provide a useful resource for further genomics studies and development of genome-based tools to enhance the progress of the genetic improvement of cereal crops.
A glutathione S-transferase-like gene, DcGSTF2, is responsible for carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) flower color intensity. Two defective genes, DcGSTF2mu with a nonsense mutation and DcGSTF2-dTac1 containing a transposable element dTac1, have been characterized in detail in this report. dTac1 is an active element that produces reverted functional genes by excision of the element. A pale-pink cultivar ‘Daisy’ carries both defective genes, whereas a spontaneous deep-colored mutant ‘Daisy-VPR’ lost the element from DcGSTF2-dTac1. This finding confirmed that dTac1 is active and that the resulting reverted gene, DcGSTF2rev1, missing the element is responsible for this color change. Crosses between the pale-colored cultivar ‘06-LA’ and a deep-colored cultivar ‘Spectrum’ produced segregating progeny. Only the deep-colored progeny had DcGSTF2rev2 derived from the ‘Spectrum’ parent, whereas progeny with pale-colored flowers had defective forms from both parents, DcGSTF2mu and DcGSTF2-dTac1. Thus, DcGSTF2rev2 had functional activity and likely originated from excision of dTac1 since there was a footprint sequence at the vacated site of the dTac1 insertion. Characterizing the DcGSTF2 genes in several cultivars revealed that the two functional genes, DcGSTF2rev1 and DcGSTF2rev2, have been used for some time in carnation breeding with the latter in use for more than half a century.