The witchesÕ broom disease caused by the fungus Crinipellis perniciosa is the main limiting factor for cocoa production in South America and the Caribbean. In Brazil, this disease affects almost all cocoa-growing regions, causing serious economic, social and ecological damage. The aim of this study was to map genomic regions associated with resistance to C. perniciosa using an F 2 population derived from a cross between ÔScavina-6Õ (resistant) and ÔICS-1Õ (susceptible). The phenotypic index was determined as the average number of vegetative witchesÕ brooms per canopy area of each plant, the witchesÕ brooms were counted and eliminated during six field evaluations between May 1998 and August 1999. A total of 124 random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and 69 amplified fragment length polymorphism (AFLP) markers were mapped along 25 linkage groups covering 1713 cM of cocoa genome. After employing single factor and composite interval mapping analyses, a major quantitative trait loci (QTL) flanked by the marker AV14.940 was identified in the linkage group 11, explaining almost 35% of the resistance to witchesÕ broom. The present result suggests that this QTL acts as a major dominant component of resistance to this pathogen, with great potential for use in marker-assisted selection procedures in cocoa breeding programmes.
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been used successfully as a biopesticide for more than 60 years. More recently, genes encoding their toxins have been used to transform plants and other organisms. Despite the large amount of research on this bacterium, its true ecology is still a matter of debate, with two major viewpoints dominating: while some understand Bt as an insect pathogen, others see it as a saprophytic bacteria from soil. In this context, Bt’s pathogenicity to other taxa and the possibility that insects may not be the primary targets of Bt are also ideas that further complicate this scenario. The existence of conflicting research results, the difficulty in developing broader ecological and genetics studies, and the great genetic plasticity of this species has cluttered a definitive concept. In this review, we gathered information on the aspects of Bt ecology that are often ignored, in the attempt to clarify the lifestyle, mechanisms of transmission and target host range of this bacterial species. As a result, we propose an integrated view to account for Bt ecology. Although Bt is indeed a pathogenic bacterium that possesses a broad arsenal for virulence and defense mechanisms, as well as a wide range of target hosts, this seems to be an adaptation to specific ecological changes acting on a versatile and cosmopolitan environmental bacterium. Bt pathogenicity and host-specificity was favored evolutionarily by increased populations of certain insect species (or other host animals), whose availability for colonization were mostly caused by anthropogenic activities. These have generated the conditions for ecological imbalances that favored dominance of specific populations of insects, arachnids, nematodes, etc., in certain areas, with narrower genetic backgrounds. These conditions provided the selective pressure for development of new hosts for pathogenic interactions, and so, host specificity of certain strains.
A PCR-based strategy was employed to identify myb-related genes potentially involved in the differentiation and development of cotton seed trichomes. cDNA clones representing six newly identified cotton myb-domain genes (GhMYB) of the R2R3-MYB family were characterized in the allotetraploid species Gossypium hirsutum L. (2n = 4x = 52; AADD). Several interesting motifs and domains in the transregulatory region (TRR) were identified as potential candidates for modulating GhMYB activity. One such structural feature is a basic 40-amino acid stretch (TRR1) located immediately downstream of the DNA-binding domain (DBD) in five of the GhMYBs. Furthermore, the conserved motif GIDxxH identified in a subset of plant MYBs is also present in the same position in the TRR1 domains of GhMYB1 and GhMYB6, exactly 12 amino acid residues downstream of the last tryptophan in the R3 repeat of the DBD. At least two of the GhMYBs (GhMYB4 and GhMYB5) contain unidentified ORFS in the 5' leader sequence (5'-uORFs) that may serve to regulate the synthesis of these particular GhMYB proteins at the translational level. Multiple alignment of DBD sequences indicated that GhMYBs show structural similarity to plant R2R3-MYB factors implicated in phenylpropanoid biosynthesis. GhMYB5 is the most distantly related cotton R2R3-MYB and is found in an isolated cluster that includes the drought-inducible AtMYB2. Sequence comparisons of DBD and TRR domains from GhMYBs, MIXTA (AmMYBMx) and G11 (AtMYBG11) did not reveal any striking similarity beyond conserved motifs. However, based on earlier phylogenetic analysis, GhMYB2, GhMYB3, and GHMYB4 are members of a cluster that contains GLABROUS1, while GhMYB1 and GhMYB6 belong to a closely related cluster. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed two discrete patterns of GhMYB gene expression. Type I cotton MYB (GhMYB-1, -2, and -3) transcripts were found in all tissue-types examined and were relatively more abundant than those derived from type II GhMYB genes (GhMYB-4, -5, and -6), which showed distinct, tissue-specific expression patterns. The developmental regulation of GhMYBs is consistent with a role for these DNA-binding factors in the differentiation and expansion of cotton seed trichomes.
A simple and cost-effective first-tier screening strategy for VIP-derived activities in B. thuringiensis collections can be developed by combining PCR and feeding bioassays. Moreover, the employed primers showed to be useful as a tool for strains differentiation at DNA level, and for characterization and isolation of Vip-like genes in tropical B. thuringiensis germplasm.
Hematoxylin staining is an early indicator of Aluminum (AI) toxicity effects on the apices of young, developing roots grown in nutrient solution. In this work, the potential of this technique as a reliable and reproducible phenotypic index for AI tolerance in tropical maize genotypes was assessed, with its performance systematically compared to two other parameters widely used in breeding programs -relative seminal-root length (RSRL) and net seminal-root length (NSRL). Seeding roots from contrasting genotypes for AI sensitivity stained remarkably different after 24-and 48-h and 7-day exposures to 222 J1M AI in nutrient solution, with the Al-dye complex being detected in both the outer (epidermis) and inner (cortex) portions of the roots from the sensitive cultivar. Hematoxylin staining was compared to the RSRL and NSRL parameters using 20 families from the third generation of selfing (S3) following the cross between two contrasting inbred lines that had been previously classified by the RSRL index in an independent procedure. The coloration technique showed the highest capacity to discriminate among tolerant and sensitive genotypes and displayed significant correlation coefficients to the other two indexes. Evaluation of the results from diallel crosses involving nine inbred lines proved that hematoxylin staining was also particularly adequate for identifying expressive hybrid vigor, as demonstrated by the general (GCA) and specific (SCA) combining ability estimates obtained by using the three indexes simultaneously. Hence, hematoxylin staining of Communicated by G. Wenzel
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