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  • Author or Editor: Chen Wang x
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Ficus benjamina is considered to have a high degree of morphological and physiological plasticity in response to light levels. In this study, leaf area and thickness, specific leaf area (SLA), chlorophyll content, and photosynthetic characteristics of Ficus benjamina `Common'; grown in a shaded greenhouse under four maximum photosynthetic photon flux densities (PPFDs) of 150, 250, 450, or 650 μmol·m-2·s-1 were investigated. Results showed that plants grown under 450 and 650 PPFDs had higher SLA and leaf thickness but smaller leaf areas than those grown under 150 and 250 PPFDs. Total chlorophyll content per unit leaf area decreased as PPFDs increased. Net photosynthetic rates (Pn) increased from 2.7 μmol·m-2·s-1 under 150 PPFD to 5.7 μmol·m-2·s-1 under 450 PPFD, then slightly decreased to 5.5 μmol·m-2·s-1 under 650 PPFD. The highest net photosynthetic rate was not associated with higher intercellular CO2 concentrations (Ci) and stomatal conductance (gs) as plants grown under 250 PPFD had the highest (Ci) (259 ppm) and gs (0.1 mol·m-2·s-1), which suggests that photosynthetic enzymes could play a increasing role under 450 PPFD. Plant quality, however, was not necessarily correlated with the Pn because only those grown under 250 PPFD had appropriate heights, large and dark green leaves, and well-spread branches, and thus were graded higher than plants grown under the other PPFDs. This study shows that fine-tuning production light level is important for high quality Ficus benjamina production.

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In this study research was conducted to evaluate the feasibility of characterizing genetic variation within camellia species using random amplified polymorphic DNAs (RAPD) markers. Eight varieties of species Camellia japonica and four varieties of species Camellia reticulata, provided by the America Camellia Society, Fort Valley, Ga., were investigated. RAPD profiles generated by five selected 10-based random primers (out of 20 primers) exhibited distinct patterns of amplified bands for all 12 tested varieties. A total of 344 bands were produced among the eight varieties of species C. japonica, with an average of 8.6 bands, ranging from 220 to 2072 bp in size, scored per primer. Among the 344 amplified bands, 74.4% of the bands presented polymorphic. The four varieties of species C. reticulata produced a total of 180 markers, with an average percentage of 57.8% polymorphisms. The amplified bands were in the range of 236–1760 bp. An average of nine amplified bands was generated per primer. The large percentages of polymorphisms displayed among 12 varieties within the two different species indicate that the expected genetic diversity among varieties within camellia species existed. It was concluded that the RAPD molecular markers are capable of revealing appreciable levels of genetic variation within camellia species.

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The reliability of the random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) technique in amplifying polymorphisim among the hybrids and their parents' genomes of the genus Camellia was evaluated. Three hybrids (`Londontowne Blush', `Ashton's Snow', and `Ashton's Cameo') and one of the parents, C. oleifrea`Plain Jane', provided by the America Camellia Society, Fort Valley, Ga., were investigated. Twenty 10-based random primers were tested in this study. Five out of 20 primers were selected for RAPD analysis based on the ability to produce unambiguously scoreable RAPD bands for evaluation and comparison of the genotypes under investigation. The five primers were selected because they produced distinct patterns of amplified bands for each tested genotype. A total of 162 RAPD bands were produced. Among the 162 bands, 86 bands showed polymorphisms. The amplified band sizes ranged from 236 to 1656 bp. These data indicate that in the three hybrids and one of the parents exist unique genomic regions. Our investigation results showed that the RAPD molecular approach can be used to discriminate genetic variation among hybrids and their parents.

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Epimedium species are traditional Chinese medicinal plants as well as potential groundcover and ornamental plants. In this study, genome size and genome structures of Epimedium species were investigated using flow cytometric and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH). The nuclear DNA content of Epimedium species ranged from 8.42 pg/2C (8230.7 Mbp) to 9.97 pg/2C (9752.8 Mbp). The pairwise nucleotide diversity (π) of the fragments of the genes for reverse transcriptase (rt) of Ty1-copia retrotransposon within a species of rt fragments ranged from 0.251 to 0.428 in 10 Epimedium species. Phylogenetic analysis of the sequences revealed four major clades with the largest subclade containing 72 sequences of relatively low nucleotide diversity. FISH indicated that Ty1-copia retrotransposons are distributed unevenly along the pachytene chromosomes of E. wushanense and E. sagittatum, mostly associated with the pericentromeric and terminal heterochromatin. The relatively low sequence heterogeneity of Ty1-copia rt sequences implies that the Epimedium genomes have experienced a few relatively large-scale proliferation events of copia elements, which could be one of the major forces resulting in the large genome size of Epimedium species.

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St. augustinegrass (Stenotaphrum sp.) is a warm-season perennial turfgrass that grows widely in tropical regions around the world. St. augustinegrass is valued for both its turf performance and high levels of resistance to biotic and abiotic stresses. The current study was aimed at developing nuclear microsatellite markers for st. augustinegrass. Pyrosequencing of an enriched microsatellite library on the Roche FLX platform using a 454 Titanium kit produced 57,306 sequence reads; 2614 of which contained short tandem repeats. One hundred primer pairs were tested with 18 accessions from the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Plant Germplasm System st. augustinegrass collection grown in Griffin, GA. This collection contains both Stenotaphrum dimidiatum and Stenotaphrum secundatum accessions. Among revealed 100 primer pairs, 33 were polymorphic. A total of 175 alleles were amplified. The number of observed alleles per primer pair ranged from two to 10, with an average of 5.3. Shannon’s information index and Nei’s genetic diversity values were 0.4403 and 0.2873, respectively. This set of microsatellite markers is useful for assessment of genetic diversity and construction of molecular genetic linkage maps in st. augustinegrass.

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The morphological characteristics of chrysanthemum (Chrysanthemum ×morifolium) are rich in variation. However, as a result of the aneuploid polyploidy of the chrysanthemum genome and the lack of proper tools, the genomic information of this crop is limited. Development of microsatellite markers has been an increasing trend in crop genetic studies because of the applicability of these markers in breeding programs. In this study, we reported the development of a simple sequence repeat in chrysanthemums using a magnetic beads enrichment method. An enriched genomic library with AC and GT microsatellite motifs was constructed, and 53 positive clones were detected by a colony polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique. Of these clones, 35 showed high-quality sequences, and 35 primer pairs were designed accordingly. Twenty-six (74.29%) of the 35 primer pairs revealed polymorphisms on a set of 40 chrysanthemum cultivars. There were 172 alleles amplified over 26 loci with an average of 6.615 alleles per locus. The mean values of gene diversity corrected for the sample size and the inbreeding coefficient were 0.609 and 0.119 over 26 loci, respectively, which indicated that the majority of the microsatellite loci is highly informative. Cluster analysis based on 26 polymorphic loci demonstrated that the selected cultivars were clustered according to geographical origin. This study shows the isolation efficiency of the magnetic beads technique; the abundance of microsatellites in chrysanthemum; and the potential application for the cultivar classification, the studies on genetic diversity, and molecular breeding of chrysanthemums, which is beneficial to promoting the conservation and sustainable use of this crop.

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Volatile chemicals emitted from the flowers of chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinenesis) and japanese wisteria (W. floribunda) were collected using a dynamic headspace technique and identified using gas chromatography–mass spectrometry; 28 and 22 compounds were detected from chinese wisteria and japanese wisteria flowers, respectively. These chemicals can be classified into four major classes, including fatty acid derivatives, benzenoids/phenylpropanoids, terpenoids, and nitrogen-containing compounds. Two monoterpenes, (E)-β-ocimene and linalool, belonging to the class of terpenoids, were the most abundant compounds emitted from both species. Despite strong similarity, the floral volatile profiles of the two species displayed variations in both quality and quantity. Chinese wisteria was selected as a model for further study of volatile emission from different parts of flowers, emission dynamics, and regulation of floral scent production. Although floral volatiles were detected from all flower parts, petals emitted the most. The emission of floral volatiles displayed a diurnal pattern with the maximal emissions occurring during the daytime. This rhythmic pattern was determined to be light-dependent. Regulation of floral volatile emission by exogenous chemicals, including silver thiosulphate (an ethylene inhibitor), salicylic acid, and jasmonic acid, also was analyzed. Generally, jasmonic acid promoted the emission of floral volatiles. In contrast, neither silver thiosulphate nor salicylic acid showed a significant effect on floral volatile emission. The results presented in this article suggest that wisteria can serve as a useful system for exploring novel biochemistry of floral scent biosynthesis. They also build a foundation for the study of the biological/ecological significance of floral volatiles on the reproductive biology of wisteria species.

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High-frequency somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration were achieved from immature cotyledonary-stage embryos in the endangered plant, Tapiscia sinensis Oliv. Plant growth regulators with different concentrations and combinations on embryogenesis capacity were studied. The optimal explants for in vitro somatic embryogenesis were immature embryos in T. sinensis. A high callus induction rate of 100% was achieved on Murashige and Skoog (MS) basal medium supplemented with 1.0 mg·Ll−1 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2,4-D) and 0.5% (w/v) activated charcoal. Alternatively, a high induction rate (96.16%) of somatic embryogenesis was obtained on MS basal medium supplemented with the combination of 0.05 mg·L−1 α-naphthaleneacetic acid (NAA) and 0.2 mg·L−1 6-benzylaminopurine (6-BA), and somatic embryos proliferated fastest on the mentioned medium supplemented with 0.5% (w/v) activated charcoal and 3% (w/v) sucrose, inoculation of explants proliferating 21 times in the 23-day subculture. Of the 100 plantlets transferred to field after the acclimation, 95 (95%) survived. Based on the histocytological observations, the development of somatic embryos was similar to that of zygotic embryos. There were two accumulation peaks of starch grains in the embryogenic calli and in the globular-stage embryos, both closely related to the energy supply, and the embryoids were of multicelluar origin.

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Peach (Prunus persica) is an important fruit crop worldwide with several thousand cultivars. Cultivar discrimination and hybrid authentication are often required in peach breeding and can be achieved by applying various molecular markers including simple sequence repeat (SSR). In this study a total of 2146 expressed sequence tag (EST)–SSR loci were detected with the 10,737 EST sequences retrieved from the NCBI. A total of 49 EST-SSR markers, including 24 simple ones with a motif comprising of tri-, tetra-, penta-, hexanucleotides, and 25 compound ones, were selected and then primers were designed. Following conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) specificity control and sequence authentication, as well as fluorescence-based PCR product size and stutter band evaluation, 37 EST-SSR markers with correct amplification and without stutter band interference were validated. Among them, 14 were polymorphic in 18 closely related peach accessions, with polymorphism information content (PIC) ranging from 0.0994 to 0.3750. The 18 peach accessions can be distinguished using nine polymorphic markers, with the exception of ‘Shangshandayulu’ and ‘Xipu 1’, both being bud sports from ‘Yulu’. The clustering of the accessions as well as the fingerprint profiles supported the authentication of the hybrids. These EST-SSR markers are useful for peach breeding research.

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To investigate whether reproductive disorders exist in the sexual reproduction of Ziziphus jujuba Mill. ‘Zhongqiusucui’ and to understand the reproductive biology of ‘Zhongqiusucui’ and genetic improvements in jujube trees, we used ‘Zhongqiusucui’ flowers at different developmental stages as materials and conducted field and microscopic observations on the developmental pattern of mega- and microsporogenesis, as well as on the development of male and female gametophytes. The results show the following. 1) From the inflorescence development stage to flowering, the grade 0 bud on the inflorescence exhibited an increase in horizontal diameter, longitudinal diameter, peduncle length, and bud weight, but the rates of increase were different. From day 1 to day 5 after the inflorescence had developed, floral buds mostly grew horizontally. Day 5 was the floral bud flattening stage. From day 6 to day 8 after the inflorescence had developed, floral buds mostly grew longitudinally, and day 8 was the floral bud enlarging stage. 2) The stamens of ‘Zhongqiusucui’ had five anthers, and there were four locules per anther. The anther wall consisted of epidermis, endothecium, one- to two-layered middle layer, and a secretory-type tapetum. In addition, the development of the anther wall belonged to the basic type. The cytokinesis of the microsporocytes was synchronous, the tetrads mostly arranged as a tetrahedron, and the mature pollen had three germ pores, three grooves, and was bicellular pollen. During meiosis, the microsporocytes in each locule were at the same phase and therefore exhibited synchrony. Among the different anthers in the same floral bud, as well as the four locules in the same anther, the microsporocytes had asynchronous meiosis. 3) The pistils in the ‘Zhongqiusucui’ had two ovaries, two anatropous ovules, inner and outer integument, crassinucellate tetrads formed by the meiosis of megasporocytes aligned linearly along the nucellus, megaspore at the chalazal end that developed into the functional megaspore, which underwent mitotic division three times and developed into the mature embryo sac containing seven cells and eight nuclei, and embryo sac development of the Polygonum type. 4) The external morphology of the ‘Zhongqiusucui’ floral buds correlated with the internal developmental stage of the male and female gametophyte. Therefore, the internal developmental progress of the stamen and pistil can be determined by the external morphological characteristics of the floral buds.

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