Loquat [Eriobotrya japonica (E. japonica)], a small genus of the subtribe Malinae that consists of ≈30 species, is an evergreen rosaceous fruit tree that is native to southeastern China, and some wild species that possess novel, favorable traits have excellent breeding potential. For example, Eriobotrya bengalensis blooms in late spring and ripens in early autumn in Guizhou Province, China, which prevents cold injury in winter by breeding spring-flowering cultivars using the special characters. Therefore, in the present study, the pollination treatments of cut-style pollination were evaluated that may promote successful distant hybridization in Eriobotrya japonica ‘Dawuxing’ × Eriobotrya deflexa and E. japonica ‘Dawuxing’ × E. bengalensis. The results indicated that the impairment of the pollen tube growth in the upper third of the style after pollen germination is an important factor leading to the failure of distant hybridization between the species tested in E. japonica, and that cut-style pollination can effectively overcome prefertilization barriers of the distant hybridization combination. Furthermore, the results of allele-specific polymerase chain reaction (AS-PCR) showed that S-genotypes, in accordance with the S-RNase heredity to separate the rule completely in offspring, should be both parents' S-RNase, and that the random 50 seedlings of Eb-2 and Ed-2 are true hybrids.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) related to phytohormone signal transduction and self-incompatibility may play an important role in the xenia effect. However, associated research in this area is still lacking in rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei). In this study, we identified miRNAs, predicted their target genes, performed functional enrichment analysis of the target genes, and screened for miRNAs related to phytohormone signaling and self-incompatibility. A total of 491 miRNAs were identified, of which 27 and 67 known miRNAs as well as 274 and 416 new miRNAs were found in the rabbiteye blueberry cultivars Brightwell and Premier, respectively. Compared with ‘Premier’, 31 miRNAs were upregulated and 62 miRNAs were downregulated in ‘Brightwell’. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) functional enrichment analysis indicated that the 4985 target genes predicted were involved in biosynthesis of amino acids, plant–pathogen interaction, and spliceosome pathways. A total of 10, one, one, five, two, five, and two candidate miRNAs related to auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinosteroid, and salicylic acid signaling, respectively, in rabbiteye blueberry pollen were identified. Further analysis indicated that novel_miR_49 was a candidate miRNA related to self-incompatibility, and their target gene was maker-VaccDscaff21-snap-gene-21.37. In addition, the KEGG enrichment analysis of the target genes of novel_miR_49 showed that they were involved in the ribosome, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, and glycosylphosphatidylinositol-anchor biosynthesis pathways. The results revealed that the microRNAs of rabbiteye blueberry pollen regulated to phytohormone signal transduction and self-incompatibility signal transduction based on related to auxin, cytokinin, gibberellin, abscisic acid, ethylene, brassinosteroid, and salicylic acid signaling. Results suggest that more research of the effects of miRNAs on regulation of hormone signal transduction and self-incompatibility is necessary for elucidating the molecular mechanism of the xenia effect.
Rhododendron delavayi Franch. is an important ornamental plant and often plays a role in natural hybridization with other sympatric species in Rhododendron subgenus Hymenanthes. Fifteen microsatellite loci were developed and characterized in this species. The average allele number of these microsatellites was four per locus, ranging from three to six. The ranges of expected (HE) and observed (HO) heterozygosities were 0.0365 to 0.7091 and 0.0263 to 0.9512, respectively. Cross-species amplification in R. agastum and R. decorum showed that a subset of these markers holds promise for congeneric species study. These sets of markers are potentially useful to investigate the genetic structure and gene flow of R. delavayi and other congeneric species.
Primula amethystina Franchet. is a beautiful perennial herbaceous plant locally endemic to the alpine area in southwest China. We isolated and characterized 11 polymorphic microsatellite primer pairs from this species. The number of alleles ranged from two to five. The observed and expected heterozygosities (HO and HE) were 0.25 to 0.875 and 0.223 to 0.691, respectively. Six loci were significantly deviated from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium as a result of the heterozygote deficiency. These markers will have great potential to reveal the genetic population structure and genetic diversity of P. amethystina.
After nearly a decade of development, the scale of blueberry (Vaccinium sp.) cultivation has increased, particularly in south China; however, this region is becoming increasingly challenged by temperature changes during the flowering phenophase. Understanding the effects of temperature on pollen germination and pollen tube growth in blueberry is thus important. Using the rabbiteye blueberry (V. ashei) ‘Brightwell’, different temperature treatments were carried out during open pollination and cross-pollination with the pollen from rabbiteye blueberry ‘Gardenblue’ in field, greenhouse, and controlled temperature experiments over two consecutive years. The differences in pollen germination, pollen tube dynamics, and ovule viability following different treatments were analyzed, and the critical temperatures were calculated using quadratic and modified bilinear equations to quantify the developmental responses to temperature. The results showed that the fruit set of the artificially pollinated plants inside the greenhouse was significantly higher than that outside the greenhouse. Furthermore, pollen germination and pollen tube growth gradually accelerated under the appropriate high-temperature range, resulting in reduced pollen tube travel time to the ovule. However, the percentage of the style traversed by the pollen tube did not increase at temperatures greater than 30 °C, and a high-temperature range could accelerate ovule degeneration. Therefore, impairment of pollen tube growth in the upper half of the style following pollen germination and ovule degeneration constituted important factors leading to reduced fruit setting under short periods of high temperature during the flowering phenophase in rabbiteye blueberry. This work advances our understanding of the effect of temperature on pollen germination, pollen tube growth, ovule longevity, and fruit setting in rabbiteye blueberry, and provides a foundation for continued cultivation and breeding enhancement. The findings propose that the tolerance of rabbiteye blueberry to a certain high-temperature range in the flowering phenophase should inform breeding strategies for temperature resistance and that temperature range is also an important indicator of suitable environments for cultivation to mitigate potential temperature stress.
The xenia effect refers to the phenomenon whereby the pollen genotype directly affects seed and fruit development during the period from fertilization to seed germination, which leads to different characteristics in phenotypic traits. The xenia effect can create differences in the endosperm and embryo formed after double fertilization and can also alter various fruit parameters, such as the fruit-ripening period; the fruit shape, size, and color; the flavor quality, such as sugars and acids; as well as the nutrient quality, such as anthocyanins. The xenia effect manifests in various ways, playing an important role in increasing the yield of fruit trees, improving fruit appearance and internal quality, as well as in directional breeding. Compared with other pomology research areas, our understanding of the xenia effect is still in its infancy. Currently, xenia is classified into two types: xenia and metaxenia. In the former, the direct effects of the pollen genotype are exhibited in the syngamous parts of the ovules; that is, the embryo and endosperm only. In the latter, the effects of the pollen genotype are demonstrated in structures other than the embryo and endosperm; that is, in tissues derived wholly from the mother plant material, in seed parts such as the nucellus and testa, as well as in the carpels and accessory tissues. However, the current classification has various shortcomings. In the present study, we propose a novel classification based on whether the appearance of xenia results from the tissue formed by double fertilization. Three xenia types are proposed: double-fertilization xenia, non–double-fertilization xenia, and combined xenia. The new classification has great theoretical and practical significance for future studies on the xenia effect and its mechanisms and also provides a more effective, broader application of xenia in improving the yield and quality of fruit trees.
Although atmospheric evaporative demand mediates water flow and constrains water-use efficiency (WUE) to a large extent, the potential to reduce irrigation demand and improve water productivity by regulating the atmospheric water driving force is highly uncertain. To bridge this gap, water transport in combination with plant productivity was examined in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) grown at contrasting evaporative demand gradients. Reducing the excessive vapor pressure deficit (VPD) decreased the water flow rate, which reduced irrigation consumption significantly by 16.4%. Reducing excessive evaporative demand moderated plant water stress, as leaf dehydration, hydraulic limitation, and excessive negative water potential were prevented by maintaining water balance in the low-VPD treatment. The moderation of plant water stress by reducing evaporative demand sustained stomatal function for photosynthesis and plant growth, which increased substantially fruit yield and shoot biomass by 20.1% and 18.4%, respectively. From a physiological perspective, a reduction in irrigation demand and an improvement in plant productivity were achieved concomitantly by reducing the excessive VPD. Consequently, WUE based on the criteria of plant biomass and fruit yield was increased significantly by 43.1% and 40.5%, respectively.
Potassium (K) is a critical plant nutrient that determines quality in a myriad of crops and increases production yields. However, excessive application of various types of K fertilizers can decrease both the food quality and yields, which translates as economic losses and food safety issues. The objectives of this study were to 1) elucidate the impacts of different application rates of various K fertilizers on garlic, with the aim to identify the optimal and most economical K fertilizer dosage and 2) compare the effects of applying two common K fertilizers (KCl and K2SO4) on garlic, to determine the optimal combination. From 2018 to 2020, we utilized two distinct K-fertilized fields to conduct our experiments. The results revealed optimal KCl fertilization increased the biomass and vegetation index in garlic, and promoted the transfer of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium nutrients from the stem and leaf to bulb, thereby increasing bulb production. The application of KCl fertilizer increased the number of cloves, the diameters of the cloves and bulbs, and reduced variations in bulb size. In addition, the application of KCl fertilizer improved the nutritional quality (Vitamin C, soluble sugar, soluble protein, and allicin) of the garlic and reduced the accumulation of nitrate. However, excessive KCl fertilizer cause decreased yields, appearance traits, and nutritional quality. Applying the same rate of K fertilizer in the form of K2SO4 in isolation increased the garlic yield by only 0.1% to 22.5% when compared with KCl fertilizer. However, the results were not always significant. In this study, the highest yields, appearance traits, and nutritional quality were achieved with the ratio of K2SO4: KCl = 3:1. Consequently, to ensure the highest economic value (considering the market prices of K fertilizer, garlic sprouts, and bulbs), the authors recommend a K fertilizer rate of 252.5 kg·ha−1 K2O, with K2SO4 accounting for 61.6% for garlic production in field.
Ascorbic acid (AsA) is a major antioxidant and redox buffer in plants. Dehydroascorbate reductase (DHAR; EC 22.214.171.124) catalyzes the conversion of dehydroascorbate (DHA) to AsA and is crucial for AsA regeneration. In this study, we developed transgenic tomato plants that overexpressed PbDHAR2 to investigate whether PbDHAR2 could limit the deleterious effects of salt and chilling stresses. These transgenic plants contained significantly higher AsA levels than the wild-type (WT) plants. Overexpression of PbDHAR2 increased the expression of the AsA-glutathione (GSH) cycle genes in transgenic lines under salt and chilling stresses. In addition, the transgenic lines subjected to salt and chilling stresses showed higher levels of antioxidant enzyme activity, lower malondialdehyde (MDA) levels, and higher chlorophyll contents than the WT. Thus, our results demonstrate that the regulation of PbDHAR2 during AsA regeneration contributes to enhanced salt and chilling tolerance in tomato.
Cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp] is an annual legume crop grown worldwide to provide protein for human consumption and animal feed. The objective of this research was to evaluate the seed protein content in U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) cowpea germplasm for use in cowpea breeding programs. A field experiment was conducted with a randomized complete block design (RCBD) with three duplications in two locations, Fayetteville and Alma, in Arkansas, United States. A total of 173 USDA cowpea accessions were evaluated with the Elementar Rapid N analyzer III for their seed protein contents. The results showed that there was a wide range of seed protein content among the 173 cowpea genotypes, ranging from 22.8% to 28.9% with an average of 25.6%. The broad-sense heritability for seed protein among the 173 cowpea genotypes was 50.8%, indicating that seed protein content was inheritable and can be selected in breeding processing. The top five cowpea accessions with the highest seed protein contents were USDA accession PI 662992 originally collected from Florida (28.9%), PI 601085 from Minnesota (28.5%), and PI 255765 and PI 255774 from Nigeria and PI 666253 from Arkansas (28.4% each). PI 339587 from South Africa had the lowest protein content with 21.8%. The were also significant differences in seed protein contents observed among different seedcoat colors; the accessions with cream color exhibited higher protein content (27.2%) than others. This research could provide information for breeders to develop cowpea cultivars with higher seed protein content in a cowpea breeding program.