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  • Author or Editor: Xian Li x
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Northwestern Yunnan is situated in the southern part of the Hengduan Mountains, which is a complex and varied natural environment. Consequently, this region supports a great diversity of endemic plants. Using field investigation in combination with analysis of relevant literature and available data, this paper presents a regional ethnobotanical study of this area. Results indicated that northwestern Yunnan has an abundance of wild ornamental plants: this study identified 262 endemic species (belonging to 64 genera and 28 families) with potential ornamental value. The distinguishing features of these wild plants, their characteristics and habitats are analyzed; the ornamental potential of most plants stems from their wildflowers, but some species also have ornamental fruits and foliage. Among the endemic genera, Pedicularis and Rhododendron have particularly high numbers of ornamental wild species, while Aconitum, Gentiana, Corydalis, Silene, Delphinium, Cremanthodium, and Saussurea also contain significant numbers of wild ornamental species. It is suggested that cultivation of these species may be beneficial, both commercially and to help conserve endangered endemic plant species.

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A full-length cDNA (ArMY1) encoding myrosinase (β-thioglucoside glucohydrolase, EC 3.2.3.1) was cloned from horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) root. ArMY1 has an open reading frame of 1614 nucleotides with a deduced protein of 538 amino acids and molecular mass of 61.6 kD. ArMY1 shows highest overall amino acid identity (72%) with Arabidopsis thaliana myrosinase TGG2. ArMY1 mRNA signal of about 1.95 kb was detected in the leaves and roots of horseradish, but not in the leaves of broccoli. Heterologous expression of ArMY1 in baculovirus-infected Sf9 cells resulted in an immunologically active recombinant ArMY1 protein when probed with myrosinase-specific monoclonal antibody 3D7 with apparent mass 65 kD. Phylogenetic analysis showed that ArMY1 does not cluster with any of the current myrosinase subfamilies, i.e., the MA, MB, and MC subfamilies, and may represent a novel myrosinase subfamily in root tissue. This is the first report of cloning of myrosinase cDNA from horseradish root. It provides important sequence information that will enable further studies of myrosinase expression patterns and their interaction with myrosinase–binding proteins and other myrosinase-associated proteins.

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Two complementary DNA fragments encoding expansin genes Ad-EXP1 and Ad-EXP2 were isolated from ripening kiwifruit (Actinidia deliciosa cv. Bruno) by reverse transcription–polymerase chain reaction amplification using a pair of degenerate primers. The homology between these two expansin family members was 50% in nucleotide sequence and 74% in amino acid sequence. It was revealed that Ad-EXP1 and Ad-EXP2 belong to subgroups A and B of an expansin gene family respectively. However, gene expression of these two members shared similar patterns. Both were upregulated by ethylene treatment and downregulated by acetylsalicylic acid treatment. The study suggests that members of both subgroups A and B of the expansin family are involved in kiwifruit fruit ripening.

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The Chinese Incense-cedar (Calocedrus macrolepis Kruz), an important wood and ornamental tree, is native to southwest China and also in northern Vietnam, Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar. As a result of ecological degradation in these areas, Chinese Incense-cedar was considered a vulnerable species according to the criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources. In the current report, we developed and characterized 13 novel microsatellite markers for this species using the protocol of fast isolation by amplified fragment length polymorphism of sequences containing repeats. Polymorphism of each locus was assessed in 36 individuals from nine geographical populations. The number of alleles per locus ranged from two to nine with an average of 6.08. The observed and expected heterozygosities ranged from 0.0000 to 1.0000 and from 0.1549 to 0.8912 with averages of 0.6688 and 0.6815, respectively. Four of the 13 loci were significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg expectations. No significant linkage disequilibrium was detected. These polymorphic microsatellite markers would be useful tools for investigating genetic population structure and diversity to establish conservation strategy for this interesting and vulnerable species.

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Euonymus alatus (Thunb.) Sieb., commonly known as “burning bush,” is an extremely popular landscape plant in the United States as a result of its brilliant showy red leaves in fall. However, E. alatus is also seriously invasive because of its prolific seed production and effective seed dispersal by birds. Thus, development of sterile, non-invasive, seedless triploid E. alatus is in high demand. In this article, we report successful production of triploid E. alatus using endosperm tissues as explants. In our study, ≈50% of immature endosperm explants and 14% of mature endosperm explants formed compact, green calli after culture in the dark for 8 weeks and then under light for 4 weeks on Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium supplemented with 2.2 μM BA and 2.7 μM α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA). Approximately 5.6% of the immature endosperm-derived calli and 13.4% of mature endosperm-derived calli initiated shoots within 8 weeks after they were cultured on MS medium with 4.4 μM benzyladenine (BA) and 0.5 μM indole-3-butyric acid (IBA). Eighty-five percent of shoots rooted after culture on woody plant medium (WPM) containing 4.9 μM IBA for 2 weeks and then on hormone-free WPM medium containing 2.0 g·L−1 activated charcoal for 4 weeks. Eight independently regenerated triploid plants have been identified. Triploid plant regeneration rates observed were 0.42% from immature endosperm explants and 0.34% from mature endosperm explants, respectively, based on the number of endosperm explants cultured. Because triploid plants cannot produce viable seeds, and thus are sterile and non-invasive, some triploid E. alatus plant lines reported here can be used to replace the currently used invasive counterparts. Chemical names used: benzyladenine (BA), indole-3-butyric acid (IBA), and α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA).

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