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author:("Wang, xiaohui")
1.  Morphology, Carbohydrate Composition and Vernalization Response in a Genetically Diverse Collection of Asian and European Turnips (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(12):e114241.
Brassica rapa displays enormous morphological diversity, with leafy vegetables, turnips and oil crops. Turnips (Brassica rapa subsp. rapa) represent one of the morphotypes, which form tubers and can be used to study the genetics underlying storage organ formation. In the present study we investigated several characteristics of an extensive turnip collection comprising 56 accessions from both Asia (mainly Japanese origin) and Europe. Population structure was calculated using data from 280 evenly distributed SNP markers over 56 turnip accessions. We studied the anatomy of turnip tubers and measured carbohydrate composition of the mature turnip tubers of a subset of the collection. The variation in 16 leaf traits, 12 tuber traits and flowering time was evaluated in five independent experiments for the entire collection. The effect of vernalization on flowering and tuber formation was also investigated. SNP marker profiling basically divided the turnip accessions into two subpopulations, with admixture, generally corresponding with geographical origin (Europe or Asia). The enlarged turnip tuber consists of both hypocotyl and root tissue, but the proportion of the two tissues differs between accessions. The ratio of sucrose to fructose and glucose differed among accessions, while generally starch content was low. The evaluated traits segregated in both subpopulations, with leaf shape, tuber colour and number of shoots per tuber explaining most variation between the two subpopulations. Vernalization resulted in reduced flowering time and smaller tubers for the Asian turnips whereas the European turnips were less affected by vernalization.
PMCID: PMC4256417  PMID: 25474111
2.  Regulatory Network of Secondary Metabolism in Brassica rapa: Insight into the Glucosinolate Pathway 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(9):e107123.
Brassica rapa studies towards metabolic variation have largely been focused on the profiling of the diversity of metabolic compounds in specific crop types or regional varieties, but none aimed to identify genes with regulatory function in metabolite composition. Here we followed a genetical genomics approach to identify regulatory genes for six biosynthetic pathways of health-related phytochemicals, i.e carotenoids, tocopherols, folates, glucosinolates, flavonoids and phenylpropanoids. Leaves from six weeks-old plants of a Brassica rapa doubled haploid population, consisting of 92 genotypes, were profiled for their secondary metabolite composition, using both targeted and LC-MS-based untargeted metabolomics approaches. Furthermore, the same population was profiled for transcript variation using a microarray containing EST sequences mainly derived from three Brassica species: B. napus, B. rapa and B. oleracea. The biochemical pathway analysis was based on the network analyses of both metabolite QTLs (mQTLs) and transcript QTLs (eQTLs). Co-localization of mQTLs and eQTLs lead to the identification of candidate regulatory genes involved in the biosynthesis of carotenoids, tocopherols and glucosinolates. We subsequently focused on the well-characterized glucosinolate pathway and revealed two hotspots of co-localization of eQTLs with mQTLs in linkage groups A03 and A09. Our results indicate that such a large-scale genetical genomics approach combining transcriptomics and metabolomics data can provide new insights into the genetic regulation of metabolite composition of Brassica vegetables.
PMCID: PMC4164526  PMID: 25222144
3.  Beyond genomic variation - comparison and functional annotation of three Brassica rapa genomes: a turnip, a rapid cycling and a Chinese cabbage 
BMC Genomics  2014;15:250.
Brassica rapa is an economically important crop species. During its long breeding history, a large number of morphotypes have been generated, including leafy vegetables such as Chinese cabbage and pakchoi, turnip tuber crops and oil crops.
To investigate the genetic variation underlying this morphological variation, we re-sequenced, assembled and annotated the genomes of two B. rapa subspecies, turnip crops (turnip) and a rapid cycling. We then analysed the two resulting genomes together with the Chinese cabbage Chiifu reference genome to obtain an impression of the B. rapa pan-genome. The number of genes with protein-coding changes between the three genotypes was lower than that among different accessions of Arabidopsis thaliana, which can be explained by the smaller effective population size of B. rapa due to its domestication. Based on orthology to a number of non-brassica species, we estimated the date of divergence among the three B. rapa morphotypes at approximately 250,000 YA, far predating Brassica domestication (5,000-10,000 YA).
By analysing genes unique to turnip we found evidence for copy number differences in peroxidases, pointing to a role for the phenylpropanoid biosynthesis pathway in the generation of morphological variation. The estimated date of divergence among three B. rapa morphotypes implies that prior to domestication there was already considerably divergence among B. rapa genotypes. Our study thus provides two new B. rapa reference genomes, delivers a set of computer tools to analyse the resulting pan-genome and uses these to shed light on genetic drivers behind the rich morphological variation found in B. rapa.
PMCID: PMC4230417  PMID: 24684742
4.  Biased Gene Fractionation and Dominant Gene Expression among the Subgenomes of Brassica rapa 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36442.
Polyploidization, both ancient and recent, is frequent among plants. A “two-step theory" was proposed to explain the meso-triplication of the Brassica “A" genome: Brassica rapa. By accurately partitioning of this genome, we observed that genes in the less fractioned subgenome (LF) were dominantly expressed over the genes in more fractioned subgenomes (MFs: MF1 and MF2), while the genes in MF1 were slightly dominantly expressed over the genes in MF2. The results indicated that the dominantly expressed genes tended to be resistant against gene fractionation. By re-sequencing two B. rapa accessions: a vegetable turnip (VT117) and a Rapid Cycling line (L144), we found that genes in LF had less non-synonymous or frameshift mutations than genes in MFs; however mutation rates were not significantly different between MF1 and MF2. The differences in gene expression patterns and on-going gene death among the three subgenomes suggest that “two-step" genome triplication and differential subgenome methylation played important roles in the genome evolution of B. rapa.
PMCID: PMC3342247  PMID: 22567157

Results 1-4 (4)