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  • Author or Editor: Xingbo Wu x
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Hydrangea macrophylla (bigleaf hydrangea) is one of the most important floral and nursery crops worldwide. However, breeding of new bigleaf hydrangea cultivars has been hampered by a long breeding cycle and lack of genetic resources. This study investigated the genetic diversity and population structure of 82 bigleaf hydrangea cultivars using single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) originated from genotyping-by-sequencing. A total of 5803 high-quality SNPs were discovered in a bigleaf hydrangea cultivar panel. A phylogenetic analysis and analysis of molecular variance based on discovered SNPs concluded the taxonomic classification of H. macrophylla ssp. serrata as a subspecies of H. macrophylla. Principal component analysis confirmed ‘Preziosa’ as a hybrid between H. macrophylla ssp. macrophylla and H. macrophylla ssp. serrata. In addition, the cultivar Lady in Red was also found to be a hybrid between the two subspecies. The population structure analysis identified three groups among the 82 cultivars. All H. macrophylla ssp. serrata cultivars belonged to one group, and two groups were revealed within H. macrophylla ssp. macrophylla. The separation within H. macrophylla ssp. macrophylla indicated a second gene pool due to breeding efforts that have targeted similar breeding goals for bigleaf hydrangea. The discovered SNPs and the phylogenetic results will facilitate further exploitation and understanding of phylogenetic relationships of bigleaf hydrangea and will serve as a reference for hydrangea breeding improvements.

Free access

Oakleaf hydrangea (Hydrangea quercifolia) is an understory shrub native to the southeastern United States. The species occupies a relatively small native range, and little is known about its demography, genetic diversity, or needs for conservation. Samples were collected from 188 plants in 73 locations throughout the species range and were genotyped using genotyping by sequencing. A structure analysis identified six genetic clusters that are geographically defined. Although these clusters are weakly differentiated, each has unique alleles. An environmental association analysis revealed that environmental variables explain 11.3% of genetic diversity, and population structure explains 13.5%. Further, 231 putative adaptive alleles were identified, most of which are correlated with precipitation-related variables, indicating that precipitation has an impact on genetic diversity in H. quercifolia. Many historically documented populations were found to be either extirpated or at risk of extirpation. The genetic clusters on the southern extent of the species range are relatively small and contain putative adaptive alleles at relatively high frequencies. These results highlight the importance of preserving representative germplasm from throughout the species range.

Open Access

Miracle fruit (Synsepalum dulcificum) is the botanical source of miraculin, a natural, noncaloric sweetener. Miracle fruit plants have a bush-like architecture and produce multiple flushes of attractive red berries each year. The berries consist of a large seed, opaque pulp, and brilliant red peel. The pulp of the fruit contains a glycoprotein, miraculin, that binds to the tongue’s sweet receptors and induces a conformational change in response to acidic stimuli. Thus, a strong sweet sensation is imparted in the absence of sugars. The miracle fruit plant is becoming increasingly popular because of its taste-modifying properties, but the species lacks many of the breeding tools common to other crops. We report miracle fruit pulp transcriptomes from ‘Sangria’, ‘Vermilion’, ‘Flame’, and ‘Cherry’ morphotypes. A consensus transcriptome included 91,856 transcripts. Reads mapping to the miraculin gene had the highest representation in individual miracle fruit pulp transcriptomes. Other abundant transcripts primarily included Gene Ontology categories representing cellular components, nucleus and nucleic acid binding, and protein modification. The transcriptomes were used to design real-time quantitative reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR) primers for actin, elongation factor 1α, and the miraculin gene. Analysis by qRT-PCR indicated that miracle fruit pulp and peel tissues had the highest abundance of miraculin transcripts, although other tissues such as leaf, root, and flower also had detectable levels of the target sequence. Overall, these results will support discovery research for miracle fruit and the eventual breeding of this species.

Open Access