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25 April 2017, Volume 39 Issue 02
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  • Articles
    Botanical aspects of eco-civilisation construction
    Alan Hamilton, Shengji Pei, Lixin Yang
    2017, 39(02):  65-72.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.12.003
    Abstract ( 7 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2441KB) ( 0 )   Save
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    The concept of eco-civilisation refers to the need for human affairs to be contained within the limits set by nature. Plants play such fundamental roles in the functioning of ecosystems and economies that due attention must be given to them for eco-civilisation to be achieved. Species are the basic functional units of the plant world and, taking a long term perspective, their conservation with their genetic diversity should be a primary objective in eco-civilisation construction. However, standard procedures used for plant conservation have met with only limited success. Therefore, plant conservationists need social allies to boost their efforts – referring to elements of society whose primary interests in eco-civilisation construction are different, but whose efforts, if successful, will bring benefits to plant conservation too. Potential allies can be identified using an ecosystem system services framework showing how benefits received from the delivery of ecosystem services overlap with those that favour conservation of plant diversity. The concept of eco-civilisation was adopted officially in China in 2014 as a principle guiding its future development. A project at Ludian, Yunnan Province, is used to show the relationships between an ecosystem services framework and a conservation initiative.
    Recent amplification of Osr4 LTR-retrotransposon caused rice D1 gene mutation and dwarf phenotype
    Jie Chen, Hong Zhao, Xiujuan Zheng, Kangjing Liang, Yuchun Guo, Xinli Sun
    2017, 39(02):  73-79.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2017.01.003
    Abstract ( 12 )   HTML ( )   PDF (4087KB) ( 0 )   Save
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    A novel rice d1 mutant was identified using map-based cloning and comparative analysis of known d1 mutants. The mutant (d1-a) shows a mild dwarf trait, which differs only slightly from the wildtype in plant height at the tillering stage. The d1-a mutant is different from other d1 mutants. We found that it was interrupted by an Osr4 long terminal repeat (LTR)-retrotransposon, which resulted in the loss of exon 7 in the mutant D1 mRNA. A paralog of the D1 gene, D1-like, was revealed. D1-like is a truncated gene that might have resulted from recombination between retrotransposons. We identified 65 Osr4 LTR-retrotransposons in Nipponbare, and found more LTR variants in contrast to coding DNA sequence (CDS) in the retrotransposons. We also identified five possible regulatory motifs in LTRs which may control the expression of the retrotransposons. In addition, we predicted six putative functional Osr4 retrotransposons that contain complete CDSs and all important elements. Osr4 retrotransposons were classified into 4 groups, and this type of retrotransposon only appears to be present in monocots. Members of group I-1, which included all putative functional retrotransposons, showed a high similarity with each other. The retrotransposons were expressed in all tissues, at especially higher levels in some leaves and seeds. These findings imply that transpositions of group I-1 members might have occurred frequently and recently.
    Degeneration of photosynthetic capacity in mixotrophic plants, Chimaphila japonica and Pyrola decorata (Ericaceae)
    Jiaojun Yu, Chaobo Wang, Xun Gong
    2017, 39(02):  80-88.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.11.005
    Abstract ( 6 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1002KB) ( 0 )   Save
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    The evolution of photosynthesis is an important feature of mixotrophic plants. Previous inferences proposed that mixotrophic taxa tend to retain most genes relating to photosynthetic functions but vary in plastid gene content. However, no sequence data are available to test this hypothesis in Ericaceae. To investigate changes in plastid genomes that may result from a transition from autotrophy to mixotrophy, the plastomes of two mixotrophic plants, Pyrola decorata and Chimaphila japonica, were sequenced at Illumina's Genome Analyzer and compared to the published plastome of the autotrophic plant Rhododendron simsii, which also belongs to Ericaceae. The greatest discrepancy between mixotrophic and autotrophic plants was that ndh genes for both P. decorata and C. japonica plastomes have nearly all become pseudogenes. P. decorata and C. japonica also retained all genes directly involved in photosynthesis under strong selection. The calculated rate of nonsynonymous nucleotide substitutions and synonymous substitutions of protein-coding genes (dN/dS) showed that substitution rates in shade plants were apparently higher than those in sunlight plants. The two mixotrophic plastomes were generally very similar to that of non-parasitic plants, although ndh genes were largely pseudogenized. Photosynthesis genes under strong selection were retained in the two mixotrophs, however, with greatly increased substitution rates. Further research is needed to gain a clearer understanding of the evolution of autotrophy and mixotrophy in Ericaceae.
    Molecular and morphological data confirmed the presence of the rare species Mattirolomyces terfezioides in China
    Xiaojin Wang, Peigui Liu, Lihua Sun
    2017, 39(02):  89-93.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2016.10.002
    Abstract ( 4 )   HTML ( )   PDF (1960KB) ( 0 )   Save
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    Although the species Mattirolomyces terfezioides (≡ Terfezia terfezioides) has been recorded from China several times but it is really rare taxon with important ecological and economic value, the conspecificity with European material has never been tested by molecular data. We re-examined three specimens labelled as T. terfezioides, one as T. leonis and one as Terfezia sp. in the herbarium HMAS and obtained five ITS and three LSU sequences. Our morphological observation and DNA sequences show that one specimen (HMAS 83766) labelled as M. terfezioides turns out to be Choiromyces sp. and the other four are M. terfezioides. The ITS and (or) LSU sequences of the Chinese samples are identical with or with 99% similarity to those from the European samples, which fully confirms the presence of M. terfezioides in China. The species is currently known from northern China (Hebei Province, Beijing and Shanxi Province). This study shows that M. terfezioides has a Euroasia distribution other than European endemism and such distribution might be explained by the co-occurrence with the potential host tree Robinia pseudoacacia.
    New taxa of Berberis (Berberidaceae) with greenish flowers from a biodiversity hotspot in Sichuan Province, China
    Xinhua Li, Licun Zhang, Wenhui Li, Xiaoming Yin, Sen Yuan
    2017, 39(02):  94-103.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2017.01.002
    Abstract ( 5 )   HTML ( )   PDF (50458KB) ( 0 )   Save
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    A new species, Berberis viridiflora X. H. Li, and a new variety, Berberis sanguinea Franch. var. viridisepala X. H. Li, L. C. Zhang & W. H. Li are described and illustrated from Baoxing County, a biodiversity hotspot located on the eastern edge of Hengduan Mountains in Sichuan Province, Southwest China. Both new taxa resemble B. sanguinea Franch. var. sanguinea, but B. viridiflora differs by the greenish flowers, and the petals being truncate, obtuse, or undulate at apex; while B. sanguinea var. viridisepala differs by the greenish or yellowish green flowers. Morphological features of the pollen grains of B. sanguinea and the two new taxa are revealed by scanning electron microscope. B. sanguinea var. sanguinea displays obvious similarities with a sympatric congener, Berberis multiovula T. S. Ying in the morphology of flowers, stems and leaves, especially its ovule number varies greatly from 2 to 9, thus, B. multiovula characterized by the 5-ovuled ovary is reduced to a synonymy of B. sanguinea var. sanguinea. On the basis of field surveys and study of herbarium specimens, a total of 16 species and varieties of Berberis are recorded from Baoxing County, and a key is provided. Among the 16 taxa, most phenotypic variations in Chinese Berberis can be displayed, including the habit of plants, most morphological variations of stems, branches and leaves, all types of inflorescences, all color types of flowers, and nearly all types of the shape and color of fruits. Baoxing County and its adjacent Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries possibly constitute an active diversification center of Berberis in eastern Hengduan Mountains of China.
    Genetic control of flowering time in woody plants: Roses as an emerging model
    Xue Dong, Xiaodong Jiang, Guoqiang Kuang, Qingbo Wang, Micai Zhong, Dongmin Jin, Jinyong Hu
    2017, 39(02):  104-110.  doi:10.1016/j.pld.2017.01.004
    Abstract ( 5 )   HTML ( )   PDF (2262KB) ( 0 )   Save
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    Genetic control of the timing of flowering in woody plants is complex and has yet to be adequately investigated due to their long life-cycle and difficulties in genetic modification. Studies in Populus, one of the best woody plant models, have revealed a highly conserved genetic network for flowering timing in annuals. However, traits like continuous flowering cannot be addressed with Populus. Roses and strawberries have relatively small, diploid genomes and feature enormous natural variation. With the development of new genetic populations and genomic tools, roses and strawberries have become good models for studying the molecular mechanisms underpinning the regulation of flowering in woody plants. Here, we review findings on the molecular and genetic factors controlling continuous flowering in roses and woodland strawberries. Natural variation at TFL1 orthologous genes in both roses and strawberries seems be the key plausible factor that regulates continuous flowering. However, recent efforts suggest that a two-recessive-loci model may explain the controlling of continuous flowering in roses. We propose that epigenetic factors, including non-coding RNAs or chromatin-related factors, might also play a role. Insights into the genetic control of flowering time variation in roses should benefit the development of new germplasm for woody crops and shed light on the molecular genetic bases for the production and maintenance of plant biodiversity.