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1.  Relationship between hybridization frequency of Brassica juncea × B. napus and distance from pollen source (B. napus) to recipient (B. juncea) under field conditions in Japan 
Breeding Science  2012;62(3):274-281.
Several imported transgenic canola (Brassica napus) seeds have been spilled and have grown along roadsides around import ports. B. juncea, a relative of B. napus with which it has high interspecific crossability, is widely distributed throughout Japan. There is public concern about the harmful impacts of feral B. napus plants on biodiversity, but spontaneous hybridization between spilled B. napus and weedy B. juncea populations is hardly revealed. We evaluated the relationship between the hybridization frequency of B. juncea × B. napus and their planting distance in field experiments using the mutagenic herbicide-tolerant B. napus cv. Bn0861 as a pollen source for hybrid screening. The recipient B. juncea cv. Kikarashina was planted in an experimental field with Bn0861 planted in the center. No hybrids were detected under natural flowering conditions in 2009. However, the flowering period was artificially kept overlapping in 2010, leading to a hybridization frequency of 1.62% in the mixed planting area. The hybridization frequency decreased drastically with distance from the pollen source, and was lower under field conditions than estimated from the high crossability, implying that spontaneous hybridization between spilled B. napus and weedy B. juncea is unlikely in the natural environment.
PMCID: PMC3501945  PMID: 23226088
Brassica napus; B. juncea; spontaneous hybridization; distance; mutagenic herbicide-tolerant canola
2.  Persistent C genome chromosome regions identified by SSR analysis in backcross progenies between Brassica juncea and B. napus 
Breeding Science  2012;62(4):328-333.
Given that feral transgenic canola (Brassica napus) from spilled seeds has been found outside of farmer’s fields and that B. juncea is distributed worldwide, it is possible that introgression to B. juncea from B. napus has occurred. To investigate such introgression, we characterized the persistence of B. napus C genome chromosome (C-chromosome) regions in backcross progenies by B. napus C-chromosome specific simple sequence repeat (SSR) markers. We produced backcross progenies from B. juncea and F1 hybrid of B. juncea × B. napus to evaluate persistence of C-chromosome region, and screened 83 markers from a set of reported C-chromosome specific SSR markers. Eighty-five percent of the SSR markers were deleted in the BC1 obtained from B. juncea × F1 hybrid, and this BC1 exhibited a plant type like that of B. juncea. Most markers were deleted in BC2 and BC3 plants, with only two markers persisting in the BC3. These results indicate a small possibility of persistence of C-chromosome regions in our backcross progenies. Knowledge about the persistence of B. napus C-chromosome regions in backcross progenies may contribute to shed light on gene introgression.
PMCID: PMC3528329  PMID: 23341746
Brassica napus; Brassica juncea; introgression; backcross progenies; SSR marker; transgenic canola; C genome chromosome
3.  Possibilities of direct introgression from Brassica napus to B. juncea and indirect introgression from B. napus to related Brassicaceae through B. juncea 
Breeding Science  2014;64(1):74-82.
The impact of genetically modified canola (Brassica napus) on biodiversity has been examined since its initial stage of commercialization. Various research groups have extensively investigated crossability and introgression among species of Brassicaceae. B. rapa and B. juncea are ranked first and second as the recipients of cross-pollination and introgression from B. napus, respectively. Crossability between B. napus and B. rapa has been examined, specifically in terms of introgression from B. napus to B. rapa, which is mainly considered a weed in America and European countries. On the other hand, knowledge on introgression from B. napus to B. juncea is insufficient, although B. juncea is recognized as the main Brassicaceae weed species in Asia. It is therefore essential to gather information regarding the direct introgression of B. napus into B. juncea and indirect introgression of B. napus into other species of Brassicaceae through B. juncea to evaluate the influence of genetically modified canola on biodiversity. We review information on crossability and introgression between B. juncea and other related Brassicaseae in this report.
PMCID: PMC4031112  PMID: 24987292
introgression; genetically modified; Brassica napus; Brassica juncea; Brassicaceae; crossability
4.  Microspore culture reveals complex meiotic behaviour in a trigenomic Brassica hybrid 
BMC Plant Biology  2015;15:173.
Development of synthetic allohexaploid Brassica (2n = AABBCC) would be beneficial for agriculture, as allelic contributions from three genomes could increase hybrid vigour and broaden adaptation. Microspore culture of a near-allohexaploid hybrid derived from the cross (B. napus × B. carinata) × B. juncea was undertaken in order to assess the frequency and distribution of homologous and homoeologous crossovers in this trigenomic hybrid. SNP and SSR molecular markers were used to detect inheritance of A, B and C genome alleles in microspore-derived (MD) progeny. SNP allele copy number was also assessed. The MD progeny were also compared to progeny derived by self-pollination and open-pollination for fertility (estimated by self-pollinated seed set and pollen viability) and DNA ploidy (measured by flow cytometry).
In the trigenomic hybrid, homologous chromosome pairs Aj-An, Bj-Bc and Cn-Cc had similar meiotic crossover frequencies and segregation to that previously observed in established Brassica species, as demonstrated by marker haplotype analysis of the MD population. Homoeologous pairing between chromosomes A1-C1, A2-C2 and A7-C6 was detected at frequencies of 12–18 %, with other homoeologous chromosome regions associating from 8 % (A3-C3) to 0–1 % (A8-C8, A8-C9) of the time. Copy number analysis revealed eight instances of additional chromosomes and 20 instances of chromosomes present in one copy in somatically doubled MD progeny. Presence of chromosome A6 was positively correlated with self-pollinated seed set and pollen viability in the MD population. Many MD progeny were unable to produce self-pollinated seed (76 %) or viable pollen (53 %), although one MD plant produced 198 self-pollinated seeds. Average fertility was significantly lower in progeny obtained by microspore culture than progeny obtained by self-pollination or open-pollination, after excluding MD progeny which had not undergone chromosome doubling.
Based on SNP data analysis of the microspore-derived progeny, crossover frequency per chromosome in the allohexaploid hybrid was found to be similar to that in established Brassica species, suggesting that the higher chromosome number did not significantly disrupt cellular regulation of meiosis. SNP allele copy number analysis revealed the occurrence not only of homoeologous duplication/deletion events but also other cryptic duplications and deletions that may have been the result of mitotic instability. Microspore culture simplified the assessment of chromosome behaviour in the allohexaploid hybrid but yielded progeny with lower fertility and a greater range of ploidy levels compared to progeny obtained by self- or open-pollination.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12870-015-0555-9) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4493989  PMID: 26152188
Allohexaploid; Brassica; SNP chip; Chromosome behaviour; Allele copy number analysis; Interspecific hybrids
5.  Long-term monitoring of feral genetically modified herbicide-tolerant Brassica napus populations around unloading Japanese ports 
Breeding Science  2015;65(3):265-275.
Genetically modified, herbicide-tolerant (GMHT) Brassica napus plants originating from seed spill have recently been found along roadsides leading from Japanese ports that unload oilseed rape. Such introductions have potential biodiversity effects (as defined by the Cartagena Protocol): these include replacement of native elements in the biota through competitive suppression or hybridization. We conducted surveys in the period 2006–2011 to assess such threats. We examined shifts in the population distribution and occurrence of GMHT plants in 1,029 volunteer introduced assemblages of B. napus, 1,169 of B. juncea, and 184 of B. rapa around 12 ports. GMHT B. napus was found around 10 of 12 ports, but its proportion in the populations varied greatly by year and location. Over the survey period, the distributions of a pure non-GMHT population around Tobata and a pure GMHT population around Hakata increased significantly. However, there was no common trend of population expansion or contraction around the 12 ports. Furthermore, we found no herbicide tolerant B. juncea and B. rapa plants derived from crosses with GMHT B. napus. Therefore, GMHT B. napus is not invading native vegetation surrounding its populations and not likely to cross with congeners in Japanese environment.
PMCID: PMC4482177  PMID: 26175624
Brassica; genetically modified; ferality; invasiveness; herbicide tolerance; seed spillage; persistence
6.  Origins of the amphiploid species Brassica napus L. investigated by chloroplast and nuclear molecular markers 
BMC Plant Biology  2010;10:54.
The amphiploid species Brassica napus (oilseed rape, Canola) is a globally important oil crop yielding food, biofuels and industrial compounds such as lubricants and surfactants. Identification of the likely ancestors of each of the two genomes (designated A and C) found in B. napus would facilitate incorporation of novel alleles from the wider Brassica genepool in oilseed rape crop genetic improvement programmes. Knowledge of the closest extant relatives of the genotypes involved in the initial formation of B. napus would also allow further investigation of the genetic factors required for the formation of a stable amphiploid and permit the more efficient creation of fully fertile re-synthesised B. napus. We have used a combination of chloroplast and nuclear genetic markers to investigate the closest extant relatives of the original maternal progenitors of B. napus. This was based on a comprehensive sampling of the relevant genepools, including 83 accessions of A genome B. rapa L. (both wild and cultivated types), 94 accessions of B. napus and 181 accessions of C genome wild and cultivated B. oleracea L. and related species.
Three chloroplast haplotypes occurred in B. napus. The most prevalent haplotype (found in 79% of accessions) was not present within the C genome accessions but was found at low frequencies in B. rapa. Chloroplast haplotypes characteristic of B. napus were found in a small number of wild and weedy B. rapa populations, and also in two accessions of cultivated B. rapa 'brocoletto'. Whilst introgression of the B. napus chloroplast type in the wild and weedy B. rapa populations has been proposed by other studies, the presence of this haplotype within the two brocoletto accessions is unexplained.
The distribution of chloroplast haplotypes eliminate any of the C genome species as being the maternal ancestor of the majority of the B. napus accessions. The presence of multiple chloroplast haplotypes in B. napus and B. rapa accessions was not correlated with nuclear genetic diversity as determined by AFLPs, indicating that such accessions do not represent recent hybrids. Whilst some chloroplast diversity observed within B. napus can be explained by introgression from inter-specific crosses made during crop improvement programmes, there is evidence that the original hybridisation event resulting in to B. napus occurred on more than one occasion, and involved different maternal genotypes.
PMCID: PMC2923528  PMID: 20350303
7.  A comprehensive transcriptome analysis of silique development and dehiscence in Arabidopsis and Brassica integrating genotypic, interspecies and developmental comparisons 
GM Crops & Food  2014;5(4):302-320.
Asynchronous flowering of Brassica napus (canola) leads to seeds and siliques at varying stages of maturity as harvest approaches. This range of maturation can result in premature silique dehiscence (pod shattering), resulting in yield losses, which may be worsened by environmental stresses. Therefore, a goal for canola crop improvement is to reduce shattering in order to maximize yield. We performed a comprehensive transcriptome analysis on the dehiscence zone (DZ) and valve of Arabidopsis and Brassica siliques in shatter resistant and sensitive genotypes at several developmental stages. Among known Arabidopsis dehiscence genes, we confirmed that homologs of SHP1/2, FUL, ADPG1, NST1/3 and IND were associated with shattering in B. juncea and B. napus. We noted a correlation between reduced pectin degradation genes and shatter-resistance. Tension between lignified and non-lignified cells in the silique DZ plays a major role in dehiscence. Light microscopy revealed a smaller non-lignified separation layer in relatively shatter-resistant B. juncea relative to B. napus and this corresponded to increased expression of peroxidases involved in monolignol polymerization. Sustained repression of auxin biosynthesis, transport and signaling in B. juncea relative to B. napus may cause differences in dehiscence zone structure and cell wall constituents. Tension on the dehiscence zone is a consequence of shrinkage and loss of flexibility in the valves, which is caused by senescence and desiccation. Reduced shattering was generally associated with upregulation of ABA signaling and down-regulation of ethylene and jasmonate signaling, corresponding to more pronounced stress responses and reduced senescence and photosynthesis. Overall, we identified 124 cell wall related genes and 103 transcription factors potentially involved in silique dehiscence.
PMCID: PMC5033206  PMID: 25523176
Arabidopsis thaliana; Brassica juncea; Brassica napus; microarray; mutants; pod shatter; silique dehiscence
8.  Brassicaceous Seed Meals as Soil Amendments to Suppress the Plant-parasitic Nematodes Pratylenchus penetrans and Meloidogyne incognita1 
Journal of Nematology  2009;41(3):221-227.
Brassicaceous seed meals are the residual materials remaining after the extraction of oil from seeds; these seed meals contain glucosinolates that potentially degrade to nematotoxic compounds upon incorporation into soil. This study compared the nematode-suppressive ability of four seed meals obtained from Brassica juncea ‘Pacific Gold’, B. napus ‘Dwarf Essex’ and ‘Sunrise’, and Sinapis alba ‘IdaGold’, against mixed stages of Pratylenchus penetrans and Meloidogyne incognita second-stage juveniles (J2). The brassicaceous seed meals were applied to soil in laboratory assays at rates ranging from 0.5 to 10.0% dry w/w with a nonamended control included. Nematode mortality was assessed after 3 days of exposure and calculated as percentage reduction compared to a nonamended control. Across seed meals, M. incognita J2 were more sensitive to the brassicaceous seed meals compared to mixed stages of P. penetrans. Brassica juncea was the most nematode-suppressive seed meal with rates as low as 0.06% resulting in > 90% suppression of both plant-parasitic nematodes. In general B. napus ‘Sunrise’ was the least nematode-suppressive seed meal. Intermediate were the seed meals of S. alba and B. napus ‘Dwarf Essex’; 90% suppression was achieved at 1.0% and 5.0% S. alba and 0.25% and 2.5% B. napus ‘Dwarf Essex’, for M. incognita and P. penetrans, respectively. For B. juncea, seed meal glucosinolate-degradation products appeared to be responsible for nematode suppression; deactivated seed meal (wetted and heated at 70 °C for 48 hr) did not result in similar P. penetrans suppression compared to active seed meal. Sinapis alba seed meal particle size also played a role in nematode suppression with ground meal resulting in 93% suppression of P. penetrans compared with 37 to 46% suppression by pelletized S. alba seed meal. This study demonstrates that all seed meals are not equally suppressive to nematodes and that care should be taken when selecting a source of brassicaceous seed meal for plant-parasitic nematode management.
PMCID: PMC3380494  PMID: 22736818
amendment; isothiocyanate; glucosinolate; Pratylenchus penetrans; Meloidogyne incognita; brassica; seed meal
9.  Characteristics Analysis of F1 Hybrids between Genetically Modified Brassica napus and B. rapa 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(9):e0162103.
A number of studies have been conducted on hybridization between transgenic Brassica napus and B. rapa or backcross of F1 hybrid to their parents. However, trait changes must be analyzed to evaluate hybrid sustainability in nature. In the present study, B. rapa and transgenic (BrAGL20) B. napus were hybridized to verify the early flowering phenomenon of F1 hybrids, and F1 hybrid traits were analyzed to predict their impact on sustainability. Flowering of F1 hybrid has been induced slightly later than that of the transgenic B. napus, but flowering was available in the greenhouse without low temperature treatment to young plant, similar to the transgenic B. napus. It is because the BrAGL20 gene has been transferred from transgenic B. napus to F1 hybrid. The size of F1 hybrid seeds was intermediate between those of B. rapa and transgenic B. napus, and ~40% of F1 pollen exhibited abnormal size and morphology. The form of the F1 stomata was also intermediate between that of B. rapa and transgenic B. napus, and the number of stomata was close to the parental mean. Among various fatty acids, the content of erucic acid exhibited the greatest change, owing to the polymorphism of parental FATTY ACID ELONGASE 1 alleles. Furthermore, F2 hybrids could not be obtained. However, BC1 progeny were obtained by hand pollination of B. rapa with F1 hybrid pollen, with an outcrossing rate of 50%.
PMCID: PMC5025156  PMID: 27632286
10.  Introgressing Subgenome Components from Brassica rapa and B. carinata to B. juncea for Broadening Its Genetic Base and Exploring Intersubgenomic Heterosis 
Brassica juncea (AjAjBjBj), is an allotetraploid that arose from two diploid species, B. rapa (ArAr) and B. nigra (BnBn). It is an old oilseed crop with unique favorable traits, but the genetic improvement on this species is limited. We developed an approach to broaden its genetic base within several generations by intensive selection. The Ar subgenome from the Asian oil crop B. rapa (ArAr) and the Bc subgenome from the African oil crop B. carinata (BcBcCcCc) were combined in a synthesized allohexaploid (ArArBcBcCcCc), which was crossed with traditional B. juncea to generate pentaploid F1 hybrids (ArAjBcBjCc), with subsequent self-pollination to obtain newly synthesized B. juncea (Ar/jAr/jBc/jBc/j). After intensive cytological screening and phenotypic selection of fertility and agronomic traits, a population of new-type B. juncea was obtained and was found to be genetically stable at the F6 generation. The new-type B. juncea possesses good fertility and rich genetic diversity and is distinctly divergent but not isolated from traditional B. juncea, as revealed by population genetic analysis with molecular markers. More than half of its genome was modified, showing exotic introgression and novel variation. In addition to the improvement in some traits of the new-type B. juncea lines, a considerable potential for heterosis was observed in inter-subgenomic hybrids between new-type B. juncea lines and traditional B. juncea accessions. The new-type B. juncea exhibited a stable chromosome number and a novel genome composition through multiple generations, providing insight into how to significantly broaden the genetic base of crops with subgenome introgression from their related species and the potential of exploring inter-subgenomic heterosis for hybrid breeding.
PMCID: PMC5112257  PMID: 27909440
interspecific hybridization; Brassica juncea; subgenomic introgression; heterosis; genetic diversity; novel population; Development of new-type Brassica juncea with introgression of subgenomes from related oilseed species.
11.  Metaxenia in the Vine Cacti Hylocereus polyrhizus and Selenicereus spp. 
Annals of Botany  2004;93(4):469-472.
• Background and Aims Flowers of the vine cacti of the genera Hylocereus and Selenicereus grown in Israel must be hand pollinated due to self‐incompatibility and lack of efficient pollinators. In controlled pollination experiments, it was found that the time elapsed between pollination and ripening depends on the source of the pollen. Therefore a study was made of some effects of the pollen source on fruit development.
• Methods Flowers of Hylocereus polyrhizus were pollinated on the same day with different pollen sources and the stigmas were covered. Fruits were collected 4 d after reaching full colour.
• Key Results Pollinating flowers of Hylocereus polyrhizus with Selenicereus grandiflorus and S. megalanthus pollen delayed ripening by 1 and 3 weeks, respectively, as compared with ripening of fruits pollinated with Hylocereus undatus pollen. Other fruit characteristics affected by the pollen source were fruit size, pulp dry weight and number of seeds per fruit, all being significantly reduced, while peel dry weight was significantly increased by S. megalanthus pollen. Total soluble sugar content was reduced in H. polyrhizus fruits pollinated with S. grandiflorus pollen. No other major traits were affected.
• Conclusions The results are evidence for the existence of metaxenia, i.e. an effect of pollen on maternal tissues, in cacti fruits. This pollen effect on the fruit‐ripening time may be used for extending the marketing period of H. polyrhizus fruits.
PMCID: PMC4242334  PMID: 15023705
Hylocereus polyrhizus; Hylocereus undatus; Selenicereus megalanthus; Selenicereus grandiflorus; metaxenia; xenia; pitaya; ripening; fruit; Cactaceae
12.  Genome-Wide Identification, Localization, and Expression Analysis of Proanthocyanidin-Associated Genes in Brassica 
Proanthocyanidins (PA) is a type of prominent flavonoid compound deposited in seed coats which controls the pigmentation in all Brassica species. Annotation of Brassica juncea genome survey sequences showed 72 PA genes; however, a functional description of these genes, especially how their interactions regulate seed pigmentation, remains elusive. In the present study, we designed 19 primer pairs to screen a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library of B. juncea. A total of 284 BAC clones were identified and sequenced. Alignment of the sequences confirmed that 55 genes were cloned, with every Arabidopsis PA gene having 2–7 homologs in B. juncea. BLAST analysis using the recently released B. rapa or B. napus genome database identified 31 and 58 homologous genes, respectively. Mapping and phylogenetic analysis indicated that 30 B. juncea PA genes are located in the A-genome chromosomes except A04, whereas the remaining 25 genes are mapped to the B-genome chromosomes except B05 and B07. RNA-seq data and Fragments Per Kilobase of a transcript per Million mapped reads (FPKM) analysis showed that most of the PA genes were expressed in the seed coat of B. juncea and B. napus, and that BjuTT3, BjuTT18, BjuANR, BjuTT4-2, BjuTT4-3, BjuTT19-1, and BjuTT19-3 are transcriptionally regulated, and not expressed or downregulated in yellow-seeded testa. Importantly, our study facilitates in better understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying Brassica PA profiles and accumulation, as well as in further characterization of PA genes.
PMCID: PMC5145881  PMID: 28018375
Brassica spp.; proanthocyanidin biosynthesis; gene cloning; BAC library; seed color
13.  Co-linearity and divergence of the A subgenome of Brassica juncea compared with other Brassica species carrying different A subgenomes 
BMC Genomics  2016;17:18.
There are three basic Brassica genomes (A, B, and C) and three parallel sets of subgenomes distinguished in the diploid Brassica (i.e.: B. rapa, ArAr; B. nigra, BniBni; B. oleracea, CoCo) and the derived allotetraploid species (i.e.: B. juncea, AjAjBjBj; B. napus, AnAnCnCn; B. carinata, BcBcCcCc). To understand subgenome differentiation in B. juncea in comparison to other A genome-carrying Brassica species (B. rapa and B. napus), we constructed a dense genetic linkage map of B. juncea, and conducted population genetic analysis on diverse lines of the three A-genome carrying Brassica species using a genotyping-by-sequencing approach (DArT-seq).
A dense genetic linkage map of B. juncea was constructed using an F2 population derived from Sichuan Yellow/Purple Mustard. The map included 3329 DArT-seq markers on 18 linkage groups and covered 1579 cM with an average density of two markers per cM. Based on this map and the alignment of the marker sequences with the physical genome of Arabidopsis thaliana, we observed strong co-linearity of the ancestral blocks among the different A subgenomes but also considerable block variation. Comparative analyses at the level of genome sequences of B. rapa and B. napus, and marker sequence anchored on the genetic map of B. juncea, revealed a total of 30 potential inversion events across large segments and 20 potential translocation events among the three A subgenomes. Population genetic analysis on 26 accessions of the three A genome-carrying Brassica species showed that the highest genetic distance were estimated when comparing Aj-An than between An-Ar and Aj-Ar subgenome pairs.
The development of the dense genetic linkage map of B. juncea with informative DArT-seq marker sequences and availability of the reference sequences of the Ar, and AnCn genomes allowed us to compare the A subgenome structure of B. juncea (Aj) . Our results suggest that strong co-linearity exists among the three A Brassica genomes (Ar, An and Aj) but with apparent subgenomic variation. Population genetic analysis on three A-genome carrying Brassica species support the idea that B. juncea has distinct genomic diversity, and/or evolved from a different A genome progenitor of B. napus.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12864-015-2343-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4700566  PMID: 26728943
Brassica juncea; Dense genetic map; Subgenome; Genome organization; Co-linearity; Divergence
14.  Genetic load and transgenic mitigating genes in transgenic Brassica rapa (field mustard) × Brassica napus (oilseed rape) hybrid populations 
BMC Biotechnology  2009;9:93.
One theoretical explanation for the relatively poor performance of Brassica rapa (weed) × Brassica napus (crop) transgenic hybrids suggests that hybridization imparts a negative genetic load. Consequently, in hybrids genetic load could overshadow any benefits of fitness enhancing transgenes and become the limiting factor in transgenic hybrid persistence. Two types of genetic load were analyzed in this study: random/linkage-derived genetic load, and directly incorporated genetic load using a transgenic mitigation (TM) strategy. In order to measure the effects of random genetic load, hybrid productivity (seed yield and biomass) was correlated with crop- and weed-specific AFLP genomic markers. This portion of the study was designed to answer whether or not weed × transgenic crop hybrids possessing more crop genes were less competitive than hybrids containing fewer crop genes. The effects of directly incorporated genetic load (TM) were analyzed through transgene persistence data. TM strategies are proposed to decrease transgene persistence if gene flow and subsequent transgene introgression to a wild host were to occur.
In the absence of interspecific competition, transgenic weed × crop hybrids benefited from having more crop-specific alleles. There was a positive correlation between performance and number of B. napus crop-specific AFLP markers [seed yield vs. marker number (r = 0.54, P = 0.0003) and vegetative dry biomass vs. marker number (r = 0.44, P = 0.005)]. However under interspecific competition with wheat or more weed-like conditions (i.e. representing a situation where hybrid plants emerge as volunteer weeds in subsequent cropping systems), there was a positive correlation between the number of B. rapa weed-specific AFLP markers and seed yield (r = 0.70, P = 0.0001), although no such correlation was detected for vegetative biomass. When genetic load was directly incorporated into the hybrid genome, by inserting a fitness-mitigating dwarfing gene that that is beneficial for crops but deleterious for weeds (a transgene mitigation measure), there was a dramatic decrease in the number of transgenic hybrid progeny persisting in the population.
The effects of genetic load of crop and in some situations, weed alleles might be beneficial under certain environmental conditions. However, when genetic load was directly incorporated into transgenic events, e.g., using a TM construct, the number of transgenic hybrids and persistence in weedy genomic backgrounds was significantly decreased.
PMCID: PMC2780409  PMID: 19878583
15.  Embryonal Control of Yellow Seed Coat Locus ECY1 Is Related to Alanine and Phenylalanine Metabolism in the Seed Embryo of Brassica napus 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2016;6(4):1073-1081.
Seed coat color is determined by the type of pigment deposited in the seed coat cells. It is related to important agronomic traits of seeds such as seed dormancy, longevity, oil content, protein content and fiber content. In Brassica napus, inheritance of seed coat color is related to maternal effects and pollen effects (xenia effects). In this research we isolated a mutation of yellow seeded B. napus controlled by a single Mendelian locus, which is named Embryonal Control of Yellow seed coat 1 (Ecy1). Microscopy of transverse sections of the mature seed show that pigment is deposited only in the outer layer of the seed coat. Using Illumina Hisequation 2000 sequencing technology, a total of 12 GB clean data, 116× coverage of coding sequences of B. napus, was achieved from seeds 26 d after pollination (DAP). It was assembled into 172,238 independent transcripts, and 55,637 unigenes. A total of 139 orthologous genes of Arabidopsis transparent testa (TT) genes were mapped in silico to 19 chromosomes of B. napus. Only 49 of the TT orthologous genes are transcribed in seeds. However transcription of all orthologs was independent of embryonal control of seed coat color. Only 55 genes were found to be differentially expressed between brown seeds and the yellow mutant. Of these 55, 50 were upregulated and five were downregulated in yellow seeds as compared to their brown counterparts. By KEGG classification, 14 metabolic pathways were significantly enriched. Of these, five pathways: phenylpropanoid biosynthesis, cyanoamino acid metabolism, plant hormone signal transduction, metabolic pathways, and biosynthesis of secondary metabolites, were related with seed coat pigmentation. Free amino acid quantification showed that Ala and Phe were present at higher levels in the embryos of yellow seeds as compared to those of brown seeds. This increase was not observed in the seed coat. Moreover, the excess amount of free Ala was exactly twice that of Phe in the embryo. The pigment substrate chalcone is synthesized from two molecules of Ala and one molecule of Phe. The correlation between accumulation of Ala and Phe, and disappearance of pigment in the yellow seeded mutant, suggests that embryonal control of seed coat color is related with Phe and Ala metabolism in the embryo of B. napus.
PMCID: PMC4825642  PMID: 26896439
Brassica napus; yellow seed coat; xenia effect; free amino acids; transcriptome sequencing
16.  Production of high yield short duration Brassica napus by interspecific hybridization between B. oleracea and B. rapa 
Breeding Science  2014;63(5):495-502.
Brassica napus is a leading oilseed crop throughout many parts of the world. It is well adapted to long day photoperiods, however, it does not adapt well to short day subtropical regions. Short duration B. napus plants were resynthesized through ovary culture from interspecific crosses in which B. rapa cultivars were reciprocally crossed with B. oleracea. From five different combinations, 17 hybrid plants were obtained in both directions. By self-pollinating the F1 hybrids or introgressing them with cultivated B. napus, resynthesized (RS) F3 and semi-resynthesized (SRS) F2 generations were produced, respectively. In field trial in Bangladesh, the RS B. napus plants demonstrated variation in days to first flowering ranging from 29 to 73 days; some of which were similar to cultivated short duration B. napus, but not cultivated short duration B. rapa. The RS and SRS B. napus lines produced 2–4.6 and 1.6–3.7 times higher yields, respectively, as compared to cultivated short duration B. napus. Our developed RS lines may be useful for rapeseed breeding not only for subtropical regions, but also for areas such as Canada and Europe where spring rapeseed production can suffer from late spring frosts. Yield and earliness in RS lines are discussed.
PMCID: PMC3949587  PMID: 24757390
Brassica napus; interspecific hybridization; ovary culture; resynthesis; semi-resynthesis; short duration
17.  Construction of an integrated genetic linkage map for the A genome of Brassica napus using SSR markers derived from sequenced BACs in B. rapa 
BMC Genomics  2010;11:594.
The Multinational Brassica rapa Genome Sequencing Project (BrGSP) has developed valuable genomic resources, including BAC libraries, BAC-end sequences, genetic and physical maps, and seed BAC sequences for Brassica rapa. An integrated linkage map between the amphidiploid B. napus and diploid B. rapa will facilitate the rapid transfer of these valuable resources from B. rapa to B. napus (Oilseed rape, Canola).
In this study, we identified over 23,000 simple sequence repeats (SSRs) from 536 sequenced BACs. 890 SSR markers (designated as BrGMS) were developed and used for the construction of an integrated linkage map for the A genome in B. rapa and B. napus. Two hundred and nineteen BrGMS markers were integrated to an existing B. napus linkage map (BnaNZDH). Among these mapped BrGMS markers, 168 were only distributed on the A genome linkage groups (LGs), 18 distrubuted both on the A and C genome LGs, and 33 only distributed on the C genome LGs. Most of the A genome LGs in B. napus were collinear with the homoeologous LGs in B. rapa, although minor inversions or rearrangements occurred on A2 and A9. The mapping of these BAC-specific SSR markers enabled assignment of 161 sequenced B. rapa BACs, as well as the associated BAC contigs to the A genome LGs of B. napus.
The genetic mapping of SSR markers derived from sequenced BACs in B. rapa enabled direct links to be established between the B. napus linkage map and a B. rapa physical map, and thus the assignment of B. rapa BACs and the associated BAC contigs to the B. napus linkage map. This integrated genetic linkage map will facilitate exploitation of the B. rapa annotated genomic resources for gene tagging and map-based cloning in B. napus, and for comparative analysis of the A genome within Brassica species.
PMCID: PMC3091739  PMID: 20969760
18.  The Effects of Seed Size on Hybrids Formed between Oilseed Rape (Brassica napus) and Wild Brown Mustard (B. juncea) 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e39705.
Seed size has significant implications in ecology, because of its effects on plant fitness. The hybrid seeds that result from crosses between crops and their wild relatives are often small, and the consequences of this have been poorly investigated. Here we report on plant performance of hybrid and its parental transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and wild B. juncea, all grown from seeds sorted into three seed-size categories.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Three seed-size categories were sorted by seed diameter for transgenic B. napus, wild B. juncea and their transgenic and non-transgenic hybrids. The seeds were sown in a field at various plant densities. Globally, small-seeded plants had delayed flowering, lower biomass, fewer flowers and seeds, and a lower thousand-seed weight. The seed-size effect varied among plant types but was not affected by plant density. There was no negative effect of seed size in hybrids, but it was correlated with reduced growth for both parents.
Our results imply that the risk of further gene flow would probably not be mitigated by the small size of transgenic hybrid seeds. No fitness cost was detected to be associated with the Bt-transgene in this study.
PMCID: PMC3382164  PMID: 22745814
19.  Identification and characterization of improved nitrogen efficiency in interspecific hybridized new-type Brassica napus 
Annals of Botany  2014;114(3):549-559.
Background and Aims
Oilseed rape (Brassica napus) is an important oil crop worldwide. The aim of this study was to identify the variation in nitrogen (N) efficiency of new-type B. napus (genome ArArCcCc) genotypes, and to characterize some critical physiological and molecular mechanisms in response to N limitation.
Two genotypes with contrasting N efficiency (D4-15 and D1-1) were identified from 150 new-type B. napus lines, and hydroponic and pot experiments were conducted. Root morphology, plant biomass, N uptake parameters and seed yield of D4-15 and D1-1 were investigated. Two traditional B. napus (genome AnAnCnCn) genotypes, QY10 and NY7, were also cultivated. Introgression of exotic genomic components in D4-15 and D1-1 was evaluated with molecular markers.
Key Results
Large genetic variation existed among traits contributing to the N efficiency of new-type B. napus. Under low N levels at the seedling stage, the N-efficient new-type D4-15 showed higher values than the N-inefficient D1-1 line and the traditional B. napus QY10 and NY7 genotypes with respect to several traits, including root and shoot biomass, root morphology, N accumulation, N utilization efficiency (NutE), N uptake efficiency (NupE), activities of nitrate reductase (NR) and glutamine synthetase (GS), and expression levels of N transporter genes and genes that are involved in N assimilation. Higher yield was produced by the N-efficient D4-15 line compared with the N-inefficient D1-1 at maturity. More exotic genome components were introgressed into the genome of D4-15 (64·97 %) compared with D1-1 (32·23 %).
The N-efficient new-type B. napus identified in this research had higher N efficiency (and tolerance to low-N stress) than traditional B. napus cultivars, and thus could have important potential for use in breeding N-efficient B. napus cultivars in the field.
PMCID: PMC4204666  PMID: 24989788
New-type; Brassica napus; interspecific hybridization; nitrogen efficiency; genetic variation; 15NH4+; 15NO3− uptake; glutamine synthetase; nitrate reductase; nitrogen transporter; gene expression; character traits
20.  Transfer of Dicamba Tolerance from Sinapis arvensis to Brassica napus via Embryo Rescue and Recurrent Backcross Breeding 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(11):e0141418.
Auxinic herbicides (e.g. dicamba) are extensively used in agriculture to selectively control broadleaf weeds. Although cultivated species of Brassicaceae (e.g. Canola) are susceptible to auxinic herbicides, some biotypes of Sinapis arvensis (wild mustard) were found dicamba resistant in Canada. In this research, dicamba tolerance from wild mustard was introgressed into canola through embryo rescue followed by conventional breeding. Intergeneric hybrids between S. arvensis (2n = 18) and B. napus (2n = 38) were produced through embryo rescue. Embryo formation and hybrid plant regeneration was achieved. Transfer of dicamba tolerance from S. arvensis into the hybrid plants was determined by molecular analysis and at the whole plant level. Dicamba tolerance was introgressed into B. napus by backcrossing for seven generations. Homozygous dicamba-tolerant B. napus lines were identified. The ploidy of the hybrid progeny was assessed by flow cytometry. Finally, introgression of the piece of DNA possibly containing the dicamba tolerance gene into B. napus was confirmed using florescence in situ hybridization (FISH). This research demonstrates for the first time stable introgression of dicamba tolerance from S. arvensis into B. napus via in vitro embryo rescue followed by repeated backcross breeding. Creation of dicamba-tolerant B. napus varieties by this approach may have potential to provide options to growers to choose a desirable herbicide-tolerant technology. Furthermore, adoption of such technology facilitates effective weed control, less tillage, and possibly minimize evolution of herbicide resistant weeds.
PMCID: PMC4633294  PMID: 26536372
21.  De Novo Transcriptome of Brassica juncea Seed Coat and Identification of Genes for the Biosynthesis of Flavonoids 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(8):e71110.
Brassica juncea, a worldwide cultivated crop plant, produces seeds of different colors. Seed pigmentation is due to the deposition in endothelial cells of proanthocyanidins (PAs), end products from a branch of flavonoid biosynthetic pathway. To elucidate the gene regulatory network of seed pigmentation in B. juncea, transcriptomes in seed coat of a yellow-seeded inbred line and its brown-seeded near- isogenic line were sequenced using the next-generation sequencing platform Illumina/Solexa and de novo assembled. Over 116 million high-quality reads were assembled into 69,605 unigenes, of which about 71.5% (49,758 unigenes) were aligned to Nr protein database with a cut-off E-value of 10−5. RPKM analysis showed that the brown-seeded testa up-regulated 802 unigenes and down-regulated 502 unigenes as compared to the yellow-seeded one. Biological pathway analysis revealed the involvement of forty six unigenes in flavonoid biosynthesis. The unigenes encoding dihydroflavonol reductase (DFR), leucoantho-cyanidin dioxygenase (LDOX) and anthocyanidin reductase (ANR) for late flavonoid biosynthesis were not expressed at all or at a very low level in the yellow-seeded testa, which implied that these genes for PAs biosynthesis be associated with seed color of B. juncea, as confirmed by qRT-PCR analysis of these genes. To our knowledge, it is the first time to sequence the transcriptome of seed coat in Brassica juncea. The unigene sequences obtained in this study will not only lay the foundations for insight into the molecular mechanisms underlying seed pigmentation in B.juncea, but also provide the basis for further genomics research on this species or its allies.
PMCID: PMC3747200  PMID: 23990927
22.  BjuB.CYP79F1 Regulates Synthesis of Propyl Fraction of Aliphatic Glucosinolates in Oilseed Mustard Brassica juncea: Functional Validation through Genetic and Transgenic Approaches 
PLoS ONE  2016;11(2):e0150060.
Among the different types of methionine-derived aliphatic glucosinolates (GS), sinigrin (2-propenyl), the final product in 3C GS biosynthetic pathway is considered very important as it has many pharmacological and therapeutic properties. In Brassica species, the candidate gene regulating synthesis of 3C GS remains ambiguous. Earlier reports of GSL-PRO, an ortholog of Arabidopsis thaliana gene At1g18500 as a probable candidate gene responsible for 3C GS biosynthesis in B. napus and B. oleracea could not be validated in B. juncea through genetic analysis. In this communication, we report the isolation and characterization of the gene CYP79F1, an ortholog of A. thaliana gene At1g16410 that is involved in the first step of core GS biosynthesis. The gene CYP79F1 in B. juncea showed presence-absence polymorphism between lines Varuna that synthesizes sinigrin and Heera virtually free from sinigrin. Using this presence-absence polymorphism, CYP79F1 was mapped to the previously mapped 3C GS QTL region (J16Gsl4) in the LG B4 of B. juncea. In Heera, the gene was observed to be truncated due to an insertion of a ~4.7 kb TE like element leading to the loss of function of the gene. Functional validation of the gene was carried out through both genetic and transgenic approaches. An F2 population segregating only for the gene CYP79F1 and the sinigrin phenotype showed perfect co-segregation. Finally, genetic transformation of a B. juncea line (QTL-NIL J16Gsl4) having high seed GS but lacking sinigrin with the wild type CYP79F1 showed the synthesis of sinigrin validating the role of CYP79F1 in regulating the synthesis of 3C GS in B. juncea.
PMCID: PMC4769297  PMID: 26919200
23.  Host Suitability of Rapeseed for Heterodera schachtii 
Journal of Nematology  2003;35(1):35-38.
Because rapeseed, especially canola, has the potential to be grown in rotation with sugarbeet in the north-central region of the United States, this study was initiated to assess its susceptibility to infection by Heterodera schachtii and to develop a screening method for Brassica germplasm. Existing methodology was adapted for growing Brassica juncea, B. napus, B. rapa, Brassica hybrids, and sugarbeet, Beta vulgaris, in H. schachtii-infested soil to count the females that developed on the roots. Cysts on sugarbeet contained a mean of 130 eggs compared with 240 for B. napus, lowest for the Brassica. Viability of eggs produced was assessed in soil planted with Brassica and sugarbeet and infested with with 0, 100, 1,000, 3,000, and 5,000 eggs to count resulting females and cysts. Number of females (y) was related linearly to infestation rate (x) by the regression equations y = 2.82 + 0.07(x) for the Brassica lines (R² = 0.79; P < 0.001) and y = 0.43 + 0.04(x) for sugarbeet (R² = 0.69; P < 0.007). These data indicated the potential for H. schachtii population increase if the two crops are used in rotation. All of the 111 germplasm lines tested were susceptible. The methodology developed during this research would benefit attempts to develop rapeseed cultivars resistant to H. schachtii.
PMCID: PMC2620597  PMID: 19265972
Beta vulgaris; Brassica hybrid; Brassica juncea; Brassica napus; Brassica rapa; canola; Heterodera schachtii; rapeseed; resistance screening; sugarbeet; sugarbeet cyst nematode; susceptibility
24.  Development and characterization of low α-linolenic acid Brassica oleracea lines bearing a novel mutation in a ‘class a’ FATTY ACID DESATURASE 3 gene 
BMC Genetics  2014;15:94.
Traditional canola (Brassica napus L.; AACC, 2n = 38) cultivars yield seed oil with a relatively high proportion of α-linolenic acid (ALA; C18:3cis∆9,12,15), which is desirable from a health perspective. Unfortunately, due to the instability of this fatty acid, elevated levels also result in oils that exhibit a short shelf life and problems associated with use at high temperatures. As a result, the development of cultivars bearing reduced amounts of ALA in their seeds is becoming a priority. To date, several low ALA B. napus cultivars (~2-3% ALA of total fatty acids) have been developed and molecular analyses have revealed that the low ALA phenotype of lines tested thus far is a result of mutations within two ‘class b’ FATTY ACID DESATURASE 3 (FAD3) genes. Since B. napus possesses six FAD3 genes (two ‘class a’, two ‘class b’ and two ‘class c’) and ALA levels of approximately 2-3% remain in these low ALA lines, it is likely that the mutation of additional FAD3 genes could further decrease the content of this fatty acid.
In this study, we generated low ALA (≤2%) lines of B. oleracea, which is the C genome progenitor species of B. napus, via ethyl methanesulphonate (EMS) mutagenesis. We identified a novel nonsense mutation within the ‘class a’ FAD3 gene (BoFAD3-2) in these lines, which would result in the production of an encoded protein lacking 110 amino acids at its C terminus. When expressed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, this mutant protein exhibited a drastic decline in its Δ-15 desaturase activity compared to the wild-type (wt) protein. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the expression of the mutant BoFAD3-2 gene was significantly reduced in developing seeds of low ALA lines when compared to expression in wt plants.
Given the additive nature of FAD3 mutations on ALA content and the ease with which B. napus can be re-synthesized from its progenitor species, the mutant isolated here has the potential to be used for the future development of B. napus cultivars exhibiting further reductions in ALA content.
PMCID: PMC4236532  PMID: 25167929
Low linolenic acid; Brassica oleracea; fatty acid desaturase 3 (FAD3); EMS mutagenesis
25.  A proteomic analysis of seeds from Bt-transgenic Brassica napus and hybrids with wild B. juncea 
Scientific Reports  2015;5:15480.
Transgene insertions might have unintended side effects on the transgenic host, both crop and hybrids with wild relatives that harbor transgenes. We employed proteomic approaches to assess protein abundance changes in seeds from Bt-transgenic oilseed rape (Brassica napus) and its hybrids with wild mustard (B. juncea). A total of 24, 15 and 34 protein spots matching to 23, 13 and 31 unique genes were identified that changed at least 1.5 fold (p < 0.05, Student’s t-test) in abundance between transgenic (tBN) and non-transgenic (BN) oilseed rape, between hybrids of B. juncea (BJ) × tBN (BJtBN) and BJ × BN (BJBN) and between BJBN and BJ, respectively. Eight proteins had higher abundance in tBN than in BN. None of these proteins was toxic or nutritionally harmful to human health, which is not surprising since the seeds are not known to produce toxic proteins. Protein spots varying in abundance between BJtBN and BJBN seeds were the same or homologous to those in the respective parents. None of the differentially-accumulated proteins between BJtBN and BJBN were identical to those between tBN and BN. Results indicated that unintended effects resulted from transgene flow fell within the range of natural variability of hybridization and those found in the native host proteomes.
PMCID: PMC4614387  PMID: 26486652

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