ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202202.0295.v1
Subject: Biology, Plant Sciences Keywords: Alfalfa; bZIP transcription factor; phylogenetic analysis; expression pattern; abiotic stress
Online: 23 February 2022 (13:40:34 CET)
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is the most cultivated forage legume around the world. Under a variety of growing conditions, forage yield in alfalfa is stymied by biotic and abiotic stresses including heat, salt, drought, and disease. Given the sessile nature of plants, they use strategies such as differential gene expression to respond to environmental cues. Transcription factors control the expression of genes that contribute to or enable tolerance and survival during periods of stress. Basic-leucine zipper (bZIP) transcription factors have been demonstrated to play a critical role in regulating plant growth and development as well as mediate the responses to abiotic stress in several species, including Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, Lotus japonicus and Medicago truncatula. However, there is little information about bZIP transcription factors in cultivated alfalfa. In the present study, 237 bZIP genes were identified in alfalfa from publicly available sequencing data. Multiple sequence alignments showed the presence of intact bZIP motifs in the identified sequences. Based on previous phylogenetic analyses in Arabidopsis thaliana, alfalfa bZIPs were similarly divided and fell into 10 groups. The physico-chemical properties, motif analysis and phylogenetic study of the alfalfa bZIPs revealed high specificity within groups. The differential expression of alfalfa bZIPs in a suite of tissues indicates that particular bZIP genes are specifically expressed at different developmental stages in alfalfa. Similarly, expression analysis in response to ABA, cold, drought and salt stresses, indicates that a subset of bZIP genes are also differentially expressed and likely play a role in abiotic stress signaling and/or tolerance. However, further functional characterization of bZIP transcription factors in alfalfa will help illuminate the role they play in stress tolerance mechanisms in legumes and facilitate the molecular breeding of stress tolerance in alfalfa.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202011.0390.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Hybrid Vigor; Heterosis; Bulked Segregant Analysis; Marker Assisted Selection
Online: 13 November 2020 (15:47:40 CET)
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) is a perennial, outcrossing legume crop predominantly grown for hay, silage, or pasture. Intensive selection has resulted in dramatic improvement in fitness traits, including winter survival and disease resistance. However, there has been minimal improvement in other economically important traits, such as hay yield, which is still comparable to 30 years ago. Intensive phenotyping costs on this type of trait hinder high selection pressure to identify superior outcross individuals. Severe inbreeding depression inhibits the development of inbred lines with accumulated favorable alleles that exhibit heterosis. This review highlights the outcomes of inbreeding depression as well as the causes, including unmasking deleterious alleles and triggering self-incompatibility. We tracked the research efforts that unveil the genetic bases underlying deleterious alleles and self-incompatibility. The magnitudes of inbreeding depression were compared with the rate of heterozygous halved time in diploid and tetraploid organisms. To fill in the gaps between the controversy and existing hypotheses, we theorized a dosage dominant model of inheritance. The dosage dominant model is similar to the Mendelian dominance model, in which a genotype exhibits a dominant phenotype if there is a dominant allele (alphabet dominant). The difference is that in the dosage dominant model, a genotype will result in a dominant phenotype if the number of dominant alleles is equal to or greater than the number of recessive alleles. This review also includes a discussion on the development of pseudo inbreds and a hypothesis to identify deleterious alleles using bulked segregant analysis and consequently to purge deleterious alleles using marker-assisted selection, to progress toward the successful development of pure inbred lines in alfalfa.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202103.0519.v1
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: Genomic selection; GWAS; Bayesian methods; BLUP; Image analysis; Machine learning
Online: 22 March 2021 (11:21:29 CET)
Plant breeding primarily focuses on improving conventional agronomic traits, e.g. yield, quality, and resistance to biotic and abiotic stress; however, genetic improvement methods are being rapidly enhanced through genomics and phenomics. In the Genomics-Phenomics-Agronomics (GPA) paradigm, diverse research approaches have been conducted to bridge any two of these elements, and recently, all of them together. This review first highlights the progress to link i) genomics to agronomics; ii) genomics to phenomics; and iii) phenomics to agronomics. Secondly, the GPA domain is dissected into different layers, each addressing the three elements simultaneously. These dissected layers include genetic dissection through gene mapping using genome-wide association studies and genomic selection using Best Linear Unbiased Prediction, Bayesian approaches, and machine learning. The objective of the review is to help readers to grasp the core developments among the exponentially growing literature in each of these fields. Through this review, the connections among the three elements of the GPA paradigm are coherently integrated toward the prospect of sustainable development of agronomic traits through both genomics and phenomics.
REVIEW | doi:10.20944/preprints202010.0460.v2
Subject: Biology, Anatomy & Morphology Keywords: plant breeding; genomic selection; Bayes; BLUP; machine learning
Online: 18 November 2020 (11:21:50 CET)
Estimation of breeding values through Best Linear Unbiased Prediction (BLUP) using pedigree-based kinship and Marker-Assisted Selection (MAS) are the two fundamental breeding methods used before and after the introduction of genetic markers, respectively. The emergence of high-density genome-wide markers has led to the development of two parallel series of approaches inspired by BLUP and MAS, which are collectively referred to as Genomic Selection (GS). The first series of GS methods alters pedigree-based BLUP by replacing pedigree-based kinship with marker-based kinship in a variety of ways, including weighting markers by their effects in genome-wide association study (GWAS), joining both pedigree and marker-based kinship together in a single-step BLUP, and substituting individuals with groups in a compressed BLUP. The second series of GS methods estimates the effects for all genetic markers simultaneously. For the second series methods, the marker effects are summed together regardless of their individual significance. Instead of fitting individuals as random effects like in the BLUP series, the second series fits markers as random effects. Differing assumptions regarding the underlying distribution of these marker effects have resulted in the development of many Bayesian-based GS methods. This review highlights critical concept developments for both of these series and explores ongoing GS developments in machine learning, multiple trait selection, and adaptation for hybrid breeding. Furthermore, considering the increasing use and variety of GS methods in plant breeding programs, this review addresses important concerns for future GS development and application, such as the use of GWAS-assisted GS, the long-term effectiveness of GS methods, and the valid assessment of prediction accuracy.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202204.0177.v1
Subject: Biology, Agricultural Sciences & Agronomy Keywords: Plant disease; Machine vision; UAV; Smartphone; Convolutional Neural Network
Online: 19 April 2022 (07:44:29 CEST)
Stripe rust (caused by Puccinia striiformis f. sp. tritici) is one of the most devastating diseases of wheat and causes large-scale epidemics and severe yield loss. Applying fungicides during early epidemic development is crucial to controlling the disease but is often challenged by resource-limited human visual scouting. Deep learning has the potential to process images and videos captured from affordable devices to empower high-throughput phenotyping for early detection of stripe rust for timely application of fungicides and improve control efficiency. Here, we developed RustNet, a neural network-based image classifier, for efficiently monitoring fields for stripe rust. RustNet was built on a ResNet-18 architecture pre-trained with ImageNet Large-Scale Visual Recognition Challenge (ILSVRC) dataset using transfer learning. RGB images and videos of multiple wheat fields with different wheat types (winter and spring wheat), conditions (irrigated and non-irrigated), and locations were acquired using smartphones or unmanned aerial vehicles near the canopy. A semi-automated image labeling approach was conducted to improve labeling efficiency by combining automated machine labeling and human correction. Cross-validations across multiple categories (sensor platforms, wheat types, and locations) achieved Area Under Curve from 0.72 to 0.87. Independent validation on a published dataset from Germany achieved accuracies ranging from 0.79 to 0.86. The visualization of the last convolutional layer of RustNet demonstrated the identification of pixels with stripe rust. RustNet is freely available at https://zzlab.net/RustNet.