Kenaf (Hibiscus cannabinus L.; Family: Malvaceae), is multipurpose crop, one of the potential alternatives of natural fiber for biocomposite materials. Longer fiber and higher cellulose contents are required for good quality biocomposite materials. However, average length of kenaf fiber (2.6 mm in bast and 1.28 mm in whole plant) is below the critical length (4 mm) for biocomposite production. Present study describes whether fiber length and cellulose content of kenaf plants could be enhanced by increasing GA biosynthesis in plants by overexpressing Arabidopsis thaliana Gibberellic Acid 20 oxidase (AtGA20ox) gene. AtGA20ox gene with intron was overexpressed in kenaf plants under the control of double CaMV 35S promoter, followed by in planta transformation into V36 and G4 varieties of kenaf. The lines with higher levels of bioactive GA (0.3–1.52 ng g−1 fresh weight) were further characterized for their morphological and biochemical traits including vegetative and reproductive growth, fiber dimension and chemical composition. Positive impact of increased gibberellins on biochemical composition, fiber dimension and their derivative values were demonstrated in some lines of transgenic kenaf including increased cellulose content (91%), fiber length and quality but it still requires further study to confirm the critical level of this particular bioactive GA in transgenic plants.
Hua-jing-xian 74 and its 12 single segment substitution lines (SSSLs) in rice were used as crossing parents to construct a half diallel crossing population. A total number of 91 materials were grown under three planting densities. By analysis of average plant height (PH) over all environments 10 SSSLs were detected with significant additives and 6 SSSLs with significant dominances. These SSSLs were further tested under different densities respectively, indicating that some of single locus effects were sensitive to densities and the conditions under the density of 16.7 cm × 16.7 cm maybe inhibited the expressing of these PH QTLs. Qualitative and quantitative analyses of each four participating genotypes indicated that digenic interactions among these QTLs were prevalent. Of 66 tested interactions, about 42.4% were epistatic (P < 5%). Although some QTLs hadn’t single locus effects, they were possible to form digenic interactions. A significant finding was that the detected epistases were mostly negative. Additionally, these epistases were also found being sensitive to planting densities, the conditions under the density of 10 cm × 16.7 cm perhaps promoted the expressing of epistatic interactions among PH QTLs.
Improving the eating quality of cooked rice has been one of the most important objectives in rice breeding programs. Eating quality of cooked rice is a complex trait including several components, such as external appearance, taste, aroma, and texture. Therefore, dissection of these components followed by marker-assisted selection of detected QTL(s) may be a useful approach for achieving desirable eating quality in rice breeding. Whiteness of cooked rice (WCR) is an important factor related to the external appearance of cooked rice. WCR is known to be associated with the amylose and protein contents of the endosperm. However, the genetic basis of WCR remains unclear. In this study, we evaluated phenotypic variation in WCR among recently developed rice cultivars from Hokkaido, Japan. Then, we developed doubled haploid lines (DHLs) derived from a cross between two cultivars from Hokkaido, Joiku No. 462 (high WCR) and Jokei06214 (low WCR). Using the DHLs, we detected two QTLs for WCR, qWCR3 and qWCR11, on chromosomes 3 and 11, respectively. We also examined the dosage effect of the two QTLs based on both the categorized segregants in the DHLs and the relationship between the WCR phenotype and inheritance around the QTL regions in cultivars from Hokkaido.
Gametophytic self-incompatibility in Japanese pear (Pyrus pyrifolia Nakai) is controlled by the single, multi-allelic S-locus. Information about the S-genotypes is important for breeding and the selection of pollen donors for fruit production. Rapid and reliable S-genotype identification system is necessary for efficient breeding of new cultivars in Japanese pear. We designed S allele-specific PCR primer pairs for ten previously reported S-RNase alleles (S1–S9 and Sk) as simple and reliable method. Specific nucleotide sequences were chosen to design the primers to amplify fragments of only the corresponding S alleles. The developed primer pairs were evaluated by using homozygous S-genotypes (S1/S1–S9/S9 and S4sm/S4sm) and 14 major Japanese pear cultivars, and found that S allele-specific primer pairs can identify S-genotypes effectively. The S allele-specific primer pairs developed in this study will be useful for efficient S-genotyping and for marker-assisted selection in Japanese pear breeding programs.
There is increasing evidence that global warming affects the development of rice. High temperatures during ripening increase the ratio of undesirable chalky grains followed by deteriorating grain appearance quality. In order to detect quantitative trait loci (QTLs) controlling the occurrence of white-back and basal-white chalky grains of brown rice, QTL analysis was performed using recombinant inbred lines derived from a cross between two strains, ‘Tsukushiroman’ (sensitive to heat stress) and ‘Chikushi 52’ (tolerant of heat stress). The F7 and F8 lines were exposed to heat stress during the ripening period in two locations, Fukuoka and Kagoshima, in Japan. QTLs for white-back grains and basal-white grains were detected on chromosomes 1, 3, and 8, and those for basal-white grains were detected on chromosomes 2, 3, and 12. QTLs on chromosome 8 for white-back grains were shared in the plants grown in both locations. Near-isogenic lines (NILs), which harbored a segment from ‘Chikushi 52’ on chromosome 8 with the genetic background of ‘Tsukushiroman’, showed relatively lower ratios of white-back grains than ‘Tsukushiroman’. Therefore, insertion of the ‘Chikushi 52’ genomic region of the QTL on chromosome 8 can improve the quality of rice when it is grown under heat stress conditions.
Rice grain yield and quality are two major foci of rice breeding. In this study, Chinese regional rice test data provide us the unique opportunity to analyze the relationship between yield and quality in rice, because China has an unusually wide range of rice cultivars. We analyzed the relationships between grain yield, yield components, and grain quality of 300 rice germplasms. Japonica was superior in both yield and quality compared with indica. A high setting rate improved the head rice ratio. A higher 1000 grain weight was negatively correlated with quality characteristics but had a positive correlation with yield. A high spikelet density (number of grains per centimeter on the panicle) not only benefits the yield but also the head rice ratio and chalkiness traits. According to our results, global rice production can be increased to at least 8500 kg/ha to meet projected demands in 2025 without sacrificing grain quality.
Breeding of excellent rice varieties is essential for modern rice production. Typical breeding procedures to introduce and maintain valuable agricultural traits require at least 8 generations from crossing to stabilization, always taking more than 4–5 years of work. This long and tedious process is the rate-limiting step in the development of new varieties, and therefore fast culturing methods are in urgent need. Taking advantage of early flowering characteristics of light-sensitive rice under short-day conditions, we have developed a practical protocol to accelerate the breeding cycle of rice, which we have termed the “1 + 2”, “2 + 2”, “1 + 3”, and “0 + 5” methods according to the different rice varieties and different breeding purposes. We have also incorporated several techniques, including glume cutting, seed desiccation at 50°C in a drier seed dormancy breakage with low concentration of HNO3, and direct seeding. Using the above strategy, we have shortened the life cycle of light-sensitive rice varieties to about 70 days, making it possible for several rice cultivars to proliferate 4–5 generations in a single calendar year. This protocol greatly accelerates the process of new variety breeding, and can be used in rice research for shortening the process of genetic analysis and the construction of mapping populations.
We investigated the relationships of three allelic variations in Glu-B3 (ab, g, and h) with dough properties and bread-making quality-related characteristics using near-isogenic lines (NILs) of ‘Yumechikara’ that commonly carry Glu-A1a, Glu-B1b, Glu-D1d, Glu-A3f, Glu-B3ab and Glu-D3a. Measurement of peak time (PT) in a 2-g mixograph indicated that Glu-B3g was the most effective for a strong dough property, followed by Glu-B3ab, with Glu-B3h being the least effective. The results of measurement of mixing time during bread-making were similar to those for PTs, i.e., the lines carrying Glu-B3g showed the longest mixing time, followed by those of Glu-B3ab, and those of Glu-B3h showed the shortest mixing time. Since two parameters of bread-making quality, loaf volume (LV) and specific loaf volume (SLV), were affected by flour protein contents in all groups of the Glu-B3 genotype, we compared the effects of the three Glu-B3 alleles on those parameters using analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) to remove the effect of protein content. The results indicated that the Glu-B3h group showed the largest SLV, followed by the Glu-B3ab group, and the Glu-B3g group showed the smallest SLV. These results suggest that the introduction of Glu-B3h into ‘Yumechikara’ makes it possible to breed varieties with good bread-making quality-related characteristics.
Insertion-deletion (indel) polymorphisms, such as simple sequence repeats, have been widely used as DNA markers to identify QTLs and genes and to facilitate rice breeding. Recently, next-generation sequencing has produced deep sequences that allow genome-wide detection of indels. These polymorphisms can potentially be used to develop high-accuracy polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based markers. Here, re-sequencing of 5 indica, 2 aus, and 3 tropical japonica cultivars and Japanese elite cultivar ‘Koshihikari’ was performed to extract regions containing large indels (10–51 bp) shared by diverse cultivars. To design indel markers for the discrimination of genomic regions between ‘Koshihikari’ and other diverse cultivars, we subtracted the indel regions detected in ‘Koshihikari’ from those shared in other cultivars. Two sets of indel markers, KNJ8-indel (shared in eight or more cultivars, including ‘Khao Nam Jen’ as a representative tropical japonica cultivar) and C5-indel (shared in five to eight cultivars), were established, with 915 and 9,899 indel regions, respectively. Validation of the two marker sets by using 23 diverse cultivars showed a high PCR success rate (≥95%) for 83.3% of the KNJ8-indel markers and 73.9% of the C5-indel markers. The marker sets will therefore be useful for the effective breeding of Japanese rice cultivars.
The modification of erucic acid content in seeds is one of the major goals for quality breeding in oil-yielding Brassica species. However, few low erucic acid (LEA) resources are available, and novel LEA genetic resources are being sought. Fatty acid elongase 1 (FAE1) is the key gene that controls erucic acid synthesis. However, the mechanism for erucic acid synthesis in B. rapa lacks systematic study. Here, we isolated zero erucic acid lines from 1981 Chinese landraces of B. rapa and found that the formation of LEA is not attributable to variations in FAE1 coding sequences, as reported for B. napus, but may be attributable to the decrease in FAE1 expression. Moreover, the FAE1 promoter sequences of LEA and high erucic acid materials shared 95% similarity. Twenty-eight bases deletions (containing a 24-base AT-rich region) were identified approximately 1300 bp upstream from the FAE1 start codon in the LEA accessions. The genotype with the deletions co-segregated with the LEA trait in the segregating population. This study isolated an LEA B. rapa resource that can be exploited in Brassica cultivation. The promoter variations might modify the expression level of FAE1, and the results shed light on novel regulation mechanisms for erucic acid synthesis.
Genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant (GMHT) Brassica napus plants originating from seed spill have recently been found along roadsides leading from Japanese ports that unload oilseed rape. Such introductions have potential biodiversity effects (as defined by the Cartagena Protocol): these include replacement of native elements in the biota through competitive suppression or hybridization. We conducted surveys in the period 2006–2011 to assess such threats. We examined shifts in the population distribution and occurrence of GMHT plants in 1,029 volunteer introduced assemblages of B. napus, 1,169 of B. juncea, and 184 of B. rapa around 12 ports. GMHT B. napus was found around 10 of 12 ports, but its proportion in the populations varied greatly by year and location. Over the survey period, the distributions of a pure non-GMHT population around Tobata and a pure GMHT population around Hakata increased significantly. However, there was no common trend of population expansion or contraction around the 12 ports. Furthermore, we found no herbicide tolerant B. juncea and B. rapa plants derived from crosses with GMHT B. napus. Therefore, GMHT B. napus is not invading native vegetation surrounding its populations and not likely to cross with congeners in Japanese environment.
To explore genome-wide DNA polymorphisms and identify DNA markers for leaf margin phenotypes, a restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing analysis was employed to analyze three bulked DNAs of F1 progeny from a cross between a ‘piping-leaf-type’ cultivar, ‘Yugafu’, and a ‘spiny-tip-leaf-type’ variety, ‘Yonekura’. The parents were both Ananas comosus var. comosus. From the analysis, piping-leaf and spiny-tip-leaf gene-specific restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing tags were obtained and designated as PLSTs and STLSTs, respectively. The five PLSTs and two STSLTs were successfully converted to cleaved amplified polymorphic sequence (CAPS) or simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers using the sequence differences between alleles. Based on the genotyping of the F1 with two SSR and three CAPS markers, the five PLST markers were mapped in the vicinity of the P locus, with the closest marker, PLST1_SSR, being located 1.5 cM from the P locus. The two CAPS markers from STLST1 and STLST3 perfectly assessed the ‘spiny-leaf type’ as homozygotes of the recessive s allele of the S gene. The recombination value between the S locus and STLST loci was 2.4, and STLSTs were located 2.2 cM from the S locus. SSR and CAPS markers are applicable to marker-assisted selection of leaf margin phenotypes in pineapple breeding.
More accurate, rapid, and easy phenotyping tools are required to match the recent advances in high-throughput genotyping for accelerating breeding and genetic analysis. The conventional data recording in field notebooks and then inputting data to computers for further analysis is inefficient, time-consuming, laborious, and prone to human error. Here, we report WIPPER (for Wireless Plant Phenotyper), a new phenotyping platform that combines field phenotyping and data recording with the aid of Bluetooth communication, thus saving time and labor not only for field data recoding but also for inputting data to computers. Additionally, it eliminates the risk of human error associated with phenotyping and inputting data. We applied WIPPER to 100 individuals of a rice recombinant inbred line (RIL) for measuring leaf width and relative chlorophyll content (SPAD value), and were able to record an accurate data in a significantly reduced time compared with the conventional method of data collection. We are currently using WIPPER for routine management of rice germplasm including recording and documenting information on phenotypic data, seeds, and DNA for their accelerated utilization in crop breeding.