The root system is an essential organ for taking up water and nutrients and anchoring shoots to the ground. On the other hand, the root system has rarely been regarded as breeding target, possibly because it is more laborious and time-consuming to evaluate roots (which require excavation) in a large number of plants than aboveground tissues. The root growth angle (RGA), which determines the direction of root elongation in the soil, affects the area in which roots capture water and nutrients. In this review, we describe the significance of RGA as a potential trait to improve crop production, and the physiological and molecular mechanisms that regulate RGA. We discuss the prospects for breeding to improve RGA based on current knowledge of quantitative trait loci for RGA in rice.
Because grain shape is an important component of rice grain yield, the discovery of genes related to rice grain shape has attracted much attention of rice breeding programs. In recent years, some of these genes have been cloned and studied. They have been found not only regulate grain shape by changing the shape of the spikelet hull, but also regulate endosperm development through control of cell division using different molecular mechanisms. In this paper, we review the recent research on genes related to rice grain shape and their possible regulatory mechanisms.
In this study, 520 cultivated and 14 wild accessions of black gram (Vigna mungo (L.) Hepper) were assessed for diversity using 22 SSR markers. Totally, 199 alleles were detected with a mean of 9.05 alleles per locus. Wild black gram showed higher gene diversity than cultivated black gram. Gene diversity of cultivated accessions among regions was comparable, while allelic richness of South Asia was higher than that of other regions. 78.67% of the wild gene diversity presented in cultivated accessions, indicating that the domestication bottleneck effect in black gram is relatively low. Genetic distance analysis revealed that cultivated black gram was more closely related to wild black gram from South Asia than that from Southeast Asia. STRUCTURE, principal coordinate and neighbor-joining analyses consistently revealed that 534 black gram accessions were grouped into three major subpopulations. The analyses also revealed that cultivated black gram from South Asia was genetically distinct from that from West Asia. Comparison by SSR analysis with other closely related Vigna species, including mungbean, azuki bean, and rice bean, revealed that level of gene diversity of black gram is comparable to that of mungbean and rice bean but lower than that of azuki bean.
We compared microsporogenesis and flower development in Eucalyptus urophylla × E. tereticornis. In this study, although microsporogenesis and cytokinesis occurred simultaneously during meiosis of pollen mother cells, we observed a strong asynchronism in different anthers from a flower bud. The developmental period of microsporogenesis in anthers originated from the long thrum before the short thrum. Flower development was also asynchronous at different locations on a branch. The flower buds grew on the lower side of the branch and showed greater increases in diameter. In addition, we observed a relationship between microsporogenesis development and flower bud diameter growth. Generally, when the pachytene stage was first observed in a small single flower bud growing on top of a flowering branch, the remaining microsporogenesis stages (from diplotene to tetrad) in the whole branch occurred over the next 5–9 days. Thus, the start of microsporogenesis in E. urophylla × E. tereticornis could be determined, which may be applicable to future breeding studies.
Sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas L.) is an outcrossing hexaploid species with a large number of chromosomes (2n = 6x = 90). Although sweetpotato is one of the world’s most important crops, genetic analysis of the species has been hindered by its genetic complexity combined with the lack of a whole genome sequence. In the present study, we constructed a genetic linkage map based on retrotransposon insertion polymorphisms using a mapping population derived from a cross between ‘Purple Sweet Lord’ (PSL) and ‘90IDN-47’ cultivars. High-throughput sequencing and subsequent data analyses identified many Rtsp-1 retrotransposon insertion sites, and their allele dosages (simplex, duplex, triplex, or double-simplex) were determined based on segregation ratios in the mapping population. Using a pseudo-testcross strategy, 43 and 47 linkage groups were generated for PSL and 90IDN-47, respectively. Interestingly, most of these insertions (~90%) were present in a simplex manner, indicating their utility for linkage map construction in polyploid species. Additionally, our approach led to savings of time and labor for genotyping. Although the number of markers herein was insufficient for map-based cloning, our trial analysis exhibited the utility of retrotransposon-based markers for linkage map construction in sweetpotato.
The present study was conducted to evaluate the benefits of indeterminate growth habit in breeding to improve yield potential of Japanese soybean varieties, which exclusively have determinate growth habit. Two populations of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) derived from crosses between determinate Japanese cultivars and indeterminate US cultivars were grown in Akita and Kyoto, and seed weight per plant (SW) and its components were compared between indeterminate and determinate RILs. The difference of SW between the two growth habits in RILs varied depending on maturation time. The SW of early indeterminate lines was significantly higher than that of early determinate ones in Akita, but not in Kyoto. Among yield components, the number of seeds per pod was constantly larger in indeterminate lines than that in determinate ones irrespective of maturation time. The number of seeds per plant and the number of pods per plant of the indeterminate lines were greater than those of the determinate lines in early maturation in Akita. These results suggest that the indeterminate growth habit is an advantageous characteristic in breeding for high yield of early maturing soybean varieties in the Tohoku region.
Chlorophyll content is one of the most important traits controlling crop biomass and economic yield in rice. Here, we isolated a spontaneous rice mutant named thermo-sensitive chlorophyll deficit 1 (tscd1) derived from a backcross recombinant inbred line population. tscd1 plants grown normally from the seedling to tiller stages showed yellow leaves with reduced chlorophyll content, but showed no significant differences after the booting stage. At temperatures below 22°C, the tscd1 mutant showed the most obvious yellowish phenotype. With increasing temperature, the yellowish leaves gradually turned green and approached a normal wild type color. Wild type and tscd1 mutant plants had obviously different chloroplast structures and photosynthetic pigment precursor contents, which resulted in underdevelopment of chloroplasts and a yellowish phenotype in tscd1. Genetic analysis indicated that the mutant character was controlled by a recessive nuclear gene. Through map-based cloning, we located the tscd1 gene in a 34.95 kb region on the long arm of chromosome 2, containing two BAC clones and eight predicted candidate genes. Further characterization of the tscd1 gene is underway. Because it has a chlorophyll deficit phenotype before the tiller stage and little influence on growth vigor, it may play a role in ensuring the purity of hybrids.
Brown spot is a devastating rice disease. Quantitative resistance has been observed in local varieties (e.g., ‘Tadukan’), but no economically useful resistant variety has been bred. Using quantitative trait locus (QTL) analysis of recombinant inbred lines (RILs) from ‘Tadukan’ (resistant) × ‘Hinohikari’ (susceptible), we previously found three QTLs (qBS2, qBS9, and qBS11) that conferred resistance in seedlings in a greenhouse. To confirm their effect, the parents and later generations of RILs were transplanted into paddy fields where brown spot severely occurred. Three new resistance QTLs (qBSfR1, qBSfR4, and qBSfR11) were detected on chromosomes 1, 4, and 11, respectively. The ‘Tadukan’ alleles at qBSfR1 and qBSfR11 and the ‘Hinohikari’ allele at qBSfR4 increased resistance. The major QTL qBSfR11 coincided with qBS11 from the previous study, whereas qBSfR1 and qBSfR4 were new but neither qBS2 nor qBS9 were detected. To verify the qBSfR1 and qBSfR11 ‘Tadukan’ resistance alleles, near-isogenic lines (NILs) with one or both QTLs in a susceptible background (‘Koshihikari’) were evaluated under field conditions. NILs with qBSfR11 acquired significant field resistance; those with qBSfR1 did not. This confirms the effectiveness of qBSfR11. Genetic markers flanking qBSfR11 will be powerful tools for marker-assisted selection to improve brown spot resistance.