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Zhan Shu, Xue Zhang, Dianqiong Yu, Sijia Xue and Hua Wang

Hybridization between species of the genus Juglans is common because of weak reproductive isolation mechanisms between closely related species with sympatric distributions. In this research, we investigated the possibility of naturally occurring interspecific hybrids between two species in the genus Juglans: persian walnut (Juglans regia) and chinese walnut (Juglans cathayensis). We used 12 pairs of microsatellite markers to analyze introgression between the two species. All amplified microsatellites were polymorphic in the two species. The result of Bayesian admixture analyses showed that introgression between the two species is rare; only three of nine individuals tentatively identified as hybrids, based on intermediate morphological characteristics, were defined as mixed genotypes. The other six putative hybrids and 156 morphologically pure individuals showed no sign of introgression.

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Xue Li, Chen Zang, Hang Ge, Jing Zhang, Donald Grierson, Xue-ren Yin and Kun-song Chen

Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a model fruit for investigating flesh lignification during storage and response to chilling injury. However, the investigations of enzymes and coding genes and loquat fruit lignification under low-temperature storage are still limited. Here, the activity and transcript levels of up-stream enzymes of the phenylpropanoid pathway, including l-phenylalanine ammonia-lyase (PAL), cinnamate 4-hydroxylase (C4H), and 4-coumarate:coenzyme A ligase (4CL), were investigated. The results indicated that activity of these enzymes was positively correlated with loquat fruit lignification and suppression of these increases by heat treatment (HT) and low-temperature conditioning (LTC) significantly alleviated loquat fruit lignification. Coding genes for these enzymes were subsequently isolated based on information from an RNA-seq database and expression of Ej4CL1 was found to be the most responsive to low temperature and inhibition by HT and LTC treatment, whereas the other genes were less responsive to these treatments. Furthermore, function of Ej4CL1 was analyzed by transient overexpression in tobacco leaves, where it stimulated lignin accumulation. Ej4CL1 may be a key candidate that involved in CI-related loquat fruit lignification.

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Xuejuan Chen, Ming Sun, Jianguo Liang, Hui Xue and Qixiang Zhang

Chrysanthemums have beautiful flowers with high ornamental value and rich genetic diversity. Amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were used to detect the relationships among 12 wild accessions and 62 groundcover chrysanthemum cultivars. Nineteen EcoRI/MseI primer combinations revealed 452 informative polymorphic bands with a mean of 23.8 bands and 71.5% polymorphic rate per primer pair. Jaccard’s coefficient of similarity varied from 0.64 to 0.89, indicating much genetic variation in chrysanthemums. The 74 accessions were classified into two major groups by unweighted pair group method with the arithmetic averages (UPGMA). The dendrogram showed that AFLP variability was closely correlated with both geographic distribution and traditional classification of the wild accessions. Among all accessions, genetic relationship was the most relevant factor in AFLP-marker clustering, whereas petal type was also informative. AFLP technology could be very efficient for discriminating species of chrysanthemum and its related genera and reconstruct their genetic relatedness.

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Wanmei Jin, Qiang Zhang, Sunzhong Liu, Qinping Wei, Wanmei Jin, Zongming Cheng, Xiaohui Xue and Tingzhen Yang

Molecular markers are valuable tools in evaluating genetic diversity and fingerprinting plant germplasm. In this report, simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers were used for assessing genetic diversity in 41 dwarf and semidwarf and early flowering apple (Malus sp.) rootstocks. Sixty-two of 112 pairs of SSR primers generated multiple, scorable fragments. The total number of scored bands was 4138 with the polymorphic frequency ranging from 22.0% to 68.6% with a mean value of 58.5% in 737 alleles. The number of alleles per locus ranged from 6 to 19 with an average of 11.9 alleles. Polymorphic information content per locus was ranged from 0.176 to 0.885 with an average value of 0.606. These results suggested a complex genetic background and genetic diversity in these apple rootstocks. Based on three principal components and unweighted pair group mean average (UPGMA) of SSR data, the 41 apple rootstocks were divided into five groups. Group I contained M. xiaojinensis ‘Xiaojinhaitang'. Group II consisted of M. hupehensis var. pingyiensis ‘Pingyitiancha'. Group III contained M. baccata ‘Shandingzi' and its offspring. Group IV was composed of 16 apple rootstocks, including Malling and Malling Merton series from Great Britain; ‘Budagovski 9' from Russia; ‘Polish 22' from Poland; ‘Cornell-Geneva 24' from the United States; and ‘GM.256', ‘Nei Meng 11', ‘MD.001', ‘7734', and ‘7848' from China. Group V consisted of 16 Shao series rootstocks, which were offspring of M. honanensis × M. domestica ‘Ralls Genet'. This research suggests that the breeding can achieve best performance with more robust rootstock if crosses were performed among these five major groups of germplasms rather than within the major groups.

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Zai Q. Yang, Yong X. Li, Xiao P. Xue, Chuan R. Huang and Bo Zhang

Wind tunnel tests were conducted in an NH-2-type wind tunnel to investigate the wind pressure coefficients and their distribution on the surfaces of a single-span plastic greenhouse and a solar greenhouse. Wind pressures at numerous points on the surfaces of the greenhouse models were simultaneously measured for various wind directions. The critical wind speeds, at which damage occurred on the surfaces of single-span plastic greenhouses and solar greenhouses, were derived. To clearly describe the wind pressure distribution on various surface zones of the greenhouses, the end surface and top surface of the plastic greenhouse and the transparent surface of the solar greenhouse were divided into nine zones, which were denoted as Zone I to Zone IX. The results were as follows: 1) At wind direction angles of 0° and 45°, the end surface of the single-span plastic greenhouse was on the windward side, and the maximum positive wind pressure coefficient was near 1. At wind direction angles of 90° and 180°, the entire end surface of the single-span plastic greenhouse was on the leeward side, and the maximum negative wind pressure coefficient was near −1. The maximum positive wind pressure on the end surface of the single-span plastic greenhouse appeared in Zone IV at a wind direction angle of 15°, whereas the maximum negative pressure appeared in Zone VIII at a wind direction angle of 105°. 2) Most of the wind pressure coefficients on the top surface of the plastic greenhouse were negative. The maximum positive and negative wind pressure coefficient on the top surface of the plastic greenhouse occurred in Zones I and II, respectively, at a wind direction angle of 60°. 3) At a wind direction angle of 0°, the distribution of wind pressure coefficient contours was steady in the middle and lower zones of the transparent surface of the solar greenhouse, and the wind pressure coefficients were positive. At a wind direction angle of 90°, the wind pressure coefficients were negative on the transparent surface of the solar greenhouse. A maximum positive wind pressure coefficient was attained at a wind direction angle of 30° in Zone IX, whereas the maximum suction force occurred in Zone VII at a wind direction angle of 135°. 4) The minimum critical wind speeds required to impair the single-span plastic greenhouse and solar greenhouse were 14.5 and 18.9 m·s−1, respectively.

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Bo Zhang, Xue-Ren Yin, Ji-Yuan Shen, Kun-Song Chen and Ian B. Ferguson

The relationship between lipoxygenase (LOX) pathway-derived volatiles and LOX gene expression was evaluated in kiwifruit [Actinidia deliciosa (A. Chev.) C.F. Liang et A.R. Ferguson var. deliciosa cv. Bruno] during postharvest ripening at 20 °C. The C6 aldehydes n-hexanal and (E)-2-hexenal were abundant in peel compared with flesh tissue and declined as kiwifruit ripened. Esters such as ethyl butanoate and methyl butanoate were lower in the peel than flesh and accumulated when the fruit underwent a climacteric rise in ethylene production. Total LOX activity was higher in the peel than in the flesh and increased as kiwifruit ripened. Expression of AdLox2, AdLox3, AdLox4 and AdLox6 was high in the peel, whereas AdLox1 and AdLox5 showed similar levels in the peel and flesh at the ethylene climacteric. AdLox1 and AdLox5 transcript levels increased and AdLox2, AdLox3, AdLox4 and AdLox6 levels decreased during postharvest fruit ripening. Principal component analysis showed that n-hexanal and (E)-2-hexenal were grouped with LOX genes that were downregulated as kiwifruit ripened. The possible roles of LOX genes in relation to kiwifruit volatile formation during fruit ripening are discussed.

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Ying Qu, Xue Bai, Yajun Zhu, Rui Qi, Geng Tian, Yang Wang, Yonghua Li and Kaiming Zhang

Leaves of Begonia semperflorens accumulate anthocyanins and turn red under low temperature (LT). In the present work, LT increased H2O2 content and superoxide anions production rate, causing significant increases in the activities of enzymes and contents of reduced components involved in the ascorbate-glutathione cycle (AsA-GSH cycle). As a result, LT-exposed seedlings increased the expression of genes involved in anthocyanin biosynthesis, and accumulated anthocyanin. Based on LT condition, application of N,N'-dimethylthiourea (DMTU) decreased reactive oxygen species (ROS) content, and unbalanced the AsA-GSH-controlled redox homeostasis. As a result, seedlings in the LT + DMTU group did not accumulate anthocyanin. Our results suggest that ROS may act as an important inducer in LT-induced anthocyanin biosynthesis.

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Jin-wei Zhang, Yi-xue Liu, Jin-ping Yu, Wei Zhang, Ya-qiong Xie and Ning-ning Ge

In the early Spring of 2015 and 2016, weed infestation surveys were conducted in areas of cool-season turfgrass Festuca arundinacea Schreb. at 23 sites within Tianjin municipality in northern China. The weed community within turfgrass areas comprised 37 weed species belonging to 14 families. Perennial weeds accounted for 45.9% of the total community of weed species, whereas annual or biennial weeds accounted for 54.1%. Asteraceae was the dominant family (43.2%), and the percentage of broadleaved weeds was 94.6%. Statistical analyses of the weed dominance index (integrating weed relative height and relative coverage) and relative abundance (integrating weed relative density, frequency, and uniformity) showed that the 10 most common weed species during the early spring were Ixeris polycephala Cass., Taraxacum mongolicum Hand.-Mazz., Inula japonica Thunb., Hemistepta lyrata Bge., Trigonotis pedunclaris (Trev.) Benth., Calystegia hederacea Wall., Lepidium apetalum Willd., Plantago asiatica L., Cirsium segetum Bge., and Ixeris sonchifolia Hance. Ixeris polycephala Cass. and T. mongolicum Hand.-Mazz were the most dominant and harmful weed species. Partial correlation analysis (PACA) indicated that the deterioration rate (percentage of bare soil or coverage of plants other than turfgrass) of the turfgrass area was significantly and positively correlated with the total dominance index [(TDI), an index to evaluate the weed infestation severity)] and that the soil organic matter (SOM) and salinity factors were negatively correlated with the TDI. Factors such as soil nutrient conditions (the contents of N, P, and K and the total N), soil physical properties (density and clay content), soil moisture, soil temperature, and soil pH did not correlate significantly with the TDI. We conclude that the deterioration rate was the most important factor influencing weed infestation in the early spring and that SOM and soil salinity might also be important factors. The results of this study can help turfgrass researchers and managers identify the most harmful weed species and integrate management strategies in areas of cool-season turfgrass F. arundinacea Schreb. during early spring in the Tianjin region, China.