Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Genetics and Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 April 2022) | Viewed by 31620

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute for Sustainable Plant Protection (IPSP), SS Sesto Fiorentino, National Research Council (CNR), Via Madonna del Piano 10, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Italy
Interests: abiotic and biotic stress response of plants; system biology; comparative genomics
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recent crises have raised concerns for worldwide ecosystem functionality alterations and biodiversity loss. Forests play a pivotal role in human welfare, with an overall large potential to contribute to sustainability with renewable products and ecosystem services supply.

Nevertheless, forests are subjected to natural and man-induced disturbances: understanding the genetic and molecular basis of tree physiology as well as the response to abiotic and biotic stimuli is fundamental to elucidate adaptation processes and ecosystem level plant-to-plant and plant–microbe interactions.

The growing availability of genome resources and high throughput molecular techniques and bioinformatic approaches enables us to unravel the mechanism of tree functionality within the environment at an unprecedented level of depth and complexity. Furthermore, fine scale knowledge of tree genomics and gene function lays the foundation for the improvement of economically relevant species using genetic engineering approaches such as transformation or cutting-edge technologies as CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing.

This Special Issue of Forests intends to present research, review and opinion papers expanding the current knowledge and highlighting the next challenges of functional genomics to increase forest yield, as well as in all aspects of tree biology, including, but not limited to, phenology, wood formation, abiotic stress response, plant–pathogen and plant–microbe interactions.

Dr. Giovanni Emiliani
Dr. Alessio Giovannelli
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Forests is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • functional genomics
  • tree molecular genetics
  • stress response
  • tree adaptation
  • forest ecosystems robustness and resilience
  • tree–pathogen and tree–microbe interactions
  • tree genetic improvement

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

3 pages, 629 KiB  
Editorial
Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes
by Giovanni Emiliani and Alessio Giovannelli
Forests 2023, 14(3), 534; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14030534 - 8 Mar 2023
Viewed by 954
Abstract
Forests represent one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, covering approximately 30% of the total global land area [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)

Research

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14 pages, 4029 KiB  
Article
Over-Expression of Larch DAL1 Accelerates Life-Cycle Progression in Arabidopsis
by Zha-Long Ye, Qiao-Lu Zang, Dong-Xia Cheng, Xiang-Yi Li, Li-Wang Qi and Wan-Feng Li
Forests 2022, 13(6), 953; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13060953 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2878
Abstract
Homologs of Larix kaempferiDEFICIENS-AGAMOUS-LIKE 1 (LaDAL1) promote flowering in Arabidopsis. However, their functional role in the whole life-cycle is limited. Here, we analyzed the phenotypes and transcriptomes of Arabidopsis plants over-expressing LaDAL1. With respect to the defined life-cycle [...] Read more.
Homologs of Larix kaempferiDEFICIENS-AGAMOUS-LIKE 1 (LaDAL1) promote flowering in Arabidopsis. However, their functional role in the whole life-cycle is limited. Here, we analyzed the phenotypes and transcriptomes of Arabidopsis plants over-expressing LaDAL1. With respect to the defined life-cycle stage of Arabidopsis based on the meristem state, the results showed that LaDAL1 promoted seed germination, bolting, flower initiation, and global proliferative arrest, indicating that LaDAL1 accelerates the meristem reactivation, the transitions of vegetative meristem to inflorescence and flower meristem, and meristem arrest. As a marker gene of meristem, TERMINAL FLOWER 1 was down-regulated after LaDAL1 over-expression. These results reveal that LaDAL1 accelerates the life-cycle progression in Arabidopsis by promoting the transition of meristem fate, providing more and novel functional information about the conifer age-related gene DAL1. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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12 pages, 3994 KiB  
Article
Identification and Functional Evaluation of Three Polyubiquitin Promoters from Hevea brasiliensis
by Shichao Xin, Jinu Udayabhanu, Xuemei Dai, Yuwei Hua, Yueting Fan, Huasun Huang and Tiandai Huang
Forests 2022, 13(6), 952; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13060952 - 17 Jun 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
Hevea brasiliensis is an economically important tree species that provides the only commercial source of natural rubber. The replacement of the CaMV35S promoter by endogenous polyubiquitin promoters may be a viable way to improve the genetic transformation of this species. However, no endogenous [...] Read more.
Hevea brasiliensis is an economically important tree species that provides the only commercial source of natural rubber. The replacement of the CaMV35S promoter by endogenous polyubiquitin promoters may be a viable way to improve the genetic transformation of this species. However, no endogenous polyubiquitin promoters in Hevea have been reported yet. Here, we identified three Hevea polyubiquitin genes HbUBI10.1, HbUBI10.2 and HbUBI10.3, which encode ubiquitin monomers having nearly identical amino acid sequences to that of AtUBQ10. The genomic fragments upstream of these HbUBI genes, including the signature leading introns, were amplified as putative HbUBI promoters. In silico analysis showed that a number of cis-acting elements which are conserved within strong constitutive polyubiquitin promoters were presented in these HbUBI promoters. Transcriptomic data revealed that HbUBI10.1 and HbUBI10.2 had a constitutive expression in Hevea plants. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR showed that these three HbUBI genes were expressed higher than the GUS gene driven by CaMV35S in transgenic Hevea leaves. All three HbUBI promoters exhibited the capability to direct GFP expression in both transient and stable transformation assays, although they produced lower protoplast transformation efficiencies than the CaMV35S promoter. These HbUBI promoters will expand the availability of promoters for driving the transgene expression in Hevea genetic engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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15 pages, 4622 KiB  
Article
Genome-Wide Investigation of the MiR166 Family Provides New Insights into Its Involvement in the Drought Stress Responses of Tea Plants (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze)
by Caiyun Tian, Chengzhe Zhou, Chen Zhu, Lan Chen, Biying Shi, Yuling Lin, Zhongxiong Lai and Yuqiong Guo
Forests 2022, 13(4), 628; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13040628 - 17 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2769
Abstract
MicroRNA166 (miR166) is a highly conserved plant miRNA that plays a crucial role in plant growth and the resistance to various abiotic stresses. However, the miR166s in tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) have not been comprehensively identified and analyzed. This study [...] Read more.
MicroRNA166 (miR166) is a highly conserved plant miRNA that plays a crucial role in plant growth and the resistance to various abiotic stresses. However, the miR166s in tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze) have not been comprehensively identified and analyzed. This study identified 30 mature miR166s and twelve pre-miR166s in tea plants. An evolutionary analysis revealed that csn-miR166s originating from the 3′ arm of their precursors were more conserved than the csn-miR166s derived from the 5′ arm of their precursors. The twelve pre-miR166s in tea were divided into two groups, with csn-MIR166 Scaffold364-2 separated from the other precursors. The Mfold-based predictions indicated that the twelve csn-MIR166s formed typical and stable structures comprising a stem-loop hairpin, with minimum free energy ranging from −110.90 to −71.80 kcal/mol. An analysis of the CsMIR166 promoters detected diverse cis-acting elements, including those related to light responses, biosynthesis and metabolism, abiotic stress defenses, and hormone responses. There was no one-to-one relationship between the csn-miR166s and their targets, but most csn-miR166s targeted HD-Zip III genes. Physiological characterization of tea plants under drought stress showed that leaf water content proportionally decreased with the aggravation of drought stress. In contrast, tea leaves’ malondialdehyde (MDA) content proportionally increased. Moreover, the cleavage site of the ATHB-15-like transcript was identified according to a modified 5′ RNA ligase-mediated rapid amplification of cDNA ends. The RT-qPCR data indicated that the transcription of nine csn-miR166s was negatively correlated with their target gene. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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12 pages, 3315 KiB  
Article
Full-Length Transcriptome Characterization and Comparative Analysis of Chosenia arbutifolia
by Xudong He, Yu Wang, Jiwei Zheng, Jie Zhou, Zhongyi Jiao, Baosong Wang and Qiang Zhuge
Forests 2022, 13(4), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13040543 - 31 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1925
Abstract
As a unique tree species in the Salicaceae family, Chosenia arbutifolia is used primarily for construction materials and landscape planting in China. Compared with other Salicaceae species members, the genomic resources of C. arbutifolia are extremely scarce. Thus, in the present study, the [...] Read more.
As a unique tree species in the Salicaceae family, Chosenia arbutifolia is used primarily for construction materials and landscape planting in China. Compared with other Salicaceae species members, the genomic resources of C. arbutifolia are extremely scarce. Thus, in the present study, the full-length transcriptome of C. arbutifolia was sequenced by single-molecular real-time sequencing (SMRT) technology based on the PacBio platform. Then, it was compared against those of other Salicaceae species. We generated 17,397,064 subreads and 95,940 polished reads with an average length of 1812 bp, which were acquired through calibration, clustering, and polishing. In total, 50,073 genes were reconstructed, of which 48,174 open reading frames, 4281 long non-coding RNAs, and 3121 transcription factors were discovered. Functional annotation revealed that 47,717 genes had a hit in at least one of five reference databases. Moreover, a set of 12,332 putative SSR markers were screened among the reconstructed genes. Single-copy and special orthogroups, and divergent and conserved genes, were identified and analyzed to find divergence among C. arbutifolia and the five Salicaceae species. To reveal genes involved in a specific function and pathway, enrichment analyses for GO and KEGG were also performed. In conclusion, the present study empirically confirmed that SMRT sequencing realistically depicted the C. arbutifolia transcriptome and provided a comprehensive reference for functional genomic research on Salicaceae species. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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18 pages, 3957 KiB  
Article
Identification and Tissue-Specific Expression Analysis of CYP720B Subfamily Genes in Slash Pine and Loblolly Pine
by Yini Zhang, Xianyin Ding, Qifu Luan, Jingmin Jiang and Shu Diao
Forests 2022, 13(2), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13020283 - 10 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2045
Abstract
Diterpene resin acids (DRAs) are major components of pine oleoresin that can effectively resist the invasion of insects and pathogenic microorganisms. The subfamily of cytochrome P450s, CYP720B, catalyzes diterpene products into DRAs. Identifying CYP720B subfamily members and revealing the characteristics of tissue-specific expression [...] Read more.
Diterpene resin acids (DRAs) are major components of pine oleoresin that can effectively resist the invasion of insects and pathogenic microorganisms. The subfamily of cytochrome P450s, CYP720B, catalyzes diterpene products into DRAs. Identifying CYP720B subfamily members and revealing the characteristics of tissue-specific expression would help understand diterpene-rich structures and diverse types. Slash pine and loblolly pine are important pines that provide oleoresin products. In this study, we identified CYP720B candidate genes based on the Pinus taeda V2.0 genome and full-length transcriptome of slash pine by PacBio. A total of 17 genes in slash pine and 19 in loblolly pine were identified and classified into four main clades by phylogenetic analysis. An analysis of cis-acting elements showed that CYP720B genes were closely related to adversity resistance. The gene expression of these candidates in different tissues was quantified by real-time quantitative PCR (RT–qPCR) analysis. Most of the genes showed relatively higher expression levels in roots and stems than in the other tissues, corresponding with the results of DRA component detection by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS), which indicated that stems and roots might be important tissues in oleoresin biosynthesis. These results provide a valuable resource for a better understanding of the biological role of individual CYP720Bs in slash pine and loblolly pine. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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15 pages, 3481 KiB  
Article
PmMYB4, a Transcriptional Activator from Pinus massoniana, Regulates Secondary Cell Wall Formation and Lignin Biosynthesis
by Sheng Yao, Peizhen Chen, Ye Yu, Mengyang Zhang, Dengbao Wang, Jiahe Liu, Qingqing Hao and Kongshu Ji
Forests 2021, 12(12), 1618; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12121618 - 23 Nov 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2294
Abstract
Wood formation originates in the biosynthesis of lignin and further leads to secondary cell wall (SCW) biosynthesis in woody plants. Masson pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb) is an economically important industrial timber tree, and its wood yield affects the stable development of the [...] Read more.
Wood formation originates in the biosynthesis of lignin and further leads to secondary cell wall (SCW) biosynthesis in woody plants. Masson pine (Pinus massoniana Lamb) is an economically important industrial timber tree, and its wood yield affects the stable development of the paper industry. However, the regulatory mechanisms of SCW formation in Masson pine are still unclear. In this study, we characterized PmMYB4, which is a Pinus massoniana MYB gene involved in SCW biosynthesis. The open reading frame (ORF) of PmMYB4 was 1473 bp, which encoded a 490 aa protein and contained two distinctive R2 and R3 MYB domains. It was shown to be a transcription factor, with the highest expression in semi-lignified stems. We overexpressed PmMYB4 in tobacco. The results indicated that PmMYB4 overexpression increased lignin deposition, SCW thickness, and the expression of genes involved in SCW formation. Further analysis indicated that PmMYB4 bound to AC-box motifs and might directly activate the promoters of genes (PmPAL and PmCCoAOMT) involved in SCW biosynthesis. In addition, PmMYB4-OE(over expression) transgenic lines had higher lignin and cellulose contents and gene expression than control plants, indicating that PmMYB4 regulates SCW mainly by targeting lignin biosynthetic genes. In summary, this study illustrated the MYB-induced SCW mechanism in Masson pine and will facilitate enhanced lignin and cellulose synthesis in genetically engineered trees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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17 pages, 4812 KiB  
Article
Molecular Identification and Antifungal Properties of Four Thaumatin-like Proteins in Spruce (Picea likiangensis)
by Yufeng Liu, Lijuan Liu, Fred O. Asiegbu, Chunlin Yang, Shan Han, Shuai Yang, Qian Zeng and Yinggao Liu
Forests 2021, 12(9), 1268; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12091268 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2386
Abstract
Thaumatin-like proteins (TLPs) are involved in the plant defense response against pathogens, and most of them exhibit antifungal activity. However, the role of TLPs in pathogen-induced defense responses in spruce is not fully understood. In this study, four TLP genes encoding thaumatin-like protein, [...] Read more.
Thaumatin-like proteins (TLPs) are involved in the plant defense response against pathogens, and most of them exhibit antifungal activity. However, the role of TLPs in pathogen-induced defense responses in spruce is not fully understood. In this study, four TLP genes encoding thaumatin-like protein, designated as PlTLP1–4, were isolated and identified from Picea likiangensis needles. Sequence analysis showed that PlTLP1, PlTLP3, and PlTLP4 contained 16 conserved cysteine residues, while PlTLP2 had only 10 conserved cysteine residues. qPCR analysis showed that PlTLPs were expressed in all tissues tested, PlTLP1, PlTLP3, and PlTLP4 had the highest expression levels in young fruits, while PlTLP2 had the highest expression levels in roots. In addition, the expression levels of four PlTLPs were significantly upregulated during infection by Lophodermium piceae. Four recombinant PlTLPs expressed in Escherichia coli exhibited obvious β-1,3-glucanase activity. The antifungal activity assay showed that four recombinant PlTLPs had significant inhibitory effects on the mycelial growth of L. piceae, Fusarium proliferatum, Botrytis cinerea, and Roussoella doimaesalongensis. Microscopic observation revealed that the recombinant PlTLP1–4 induced the morphological changes of the mycelia of L. piceae, and the recombinant PlTLP2 and PlTLP3 induced the morphological changes of the mycelia of F. proliferatum and R. doimaesalongensis, while all the recombinant PlTLPs had no obvious negative effect on the morphology of B. cinerea mycelium. These results suggest that PlTLP genes may play an important role in the defense response of P. likiangensis against L. piceae invasion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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12 pages, 3290 KiB  
Article
Transcriptome Profile Analysis Reveals the Regulation Mechanism of Stamen Abortion in Handeliodendron bodinieri
by Xiatong Liu, Tianfeng Liu, Chong Zhang, Xiaorui Guo, Song Guo, Hai Lu, Hui Li and Zailiu Li
Forests 2021, 12(8), 1071; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12081071 - 11 Aug 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1878
Abstract
Handeliodendron bodinieri has unisexual flowers with aborted stamens in female trees, which can be used to study unisexual flower development in tree species. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of stamen abortion underlying sex differentiation, the stage of stamen abortion was determined by semi-thin [...] Read more.
Handeliodendron bodinieri has unisexual flowers with aborted stamens in female trees, which can be used to study unisexual flower development in tree species. To elucidate the molecular mechanism of stamen abortion underlying sex differentiation, the stage of stamen abortion was determined by semi-thin sections; results showed that stamen abortion occurred in stage 6 during anther development. In addition, differentially expressed transcripts regulating stamen abortion were identified by comparing the transcriptome of female flowers and male flowers with RNA-seq technique. The results showed that 14 genes related to anther development and meiosis such as HbGPAT, HbAMS, HbLAP5, HbLAP3, and HbTES were down-regulated, and HbML5 was up-regulated. Therefore, this information will provide a theoretical foundation for the conservation, breeding, scientific research, and application of Handeliodendron bodinieri. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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12 pages, 3077 KiB  
Article
Identification of miR397a and Its Functional Characterization in Callus Growth and Development by Regulating Its Target in Liriodendron
by Dan Wang, Fengjuan Lu, Ye Lu, Tielong Cheng, Jisen Shi, Jinhui Chen and Zhaodong Hao
Forests 2021, 12(7), 912; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12070912 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1968
Abstract
Callus growth and development, a crucial process in plant propagation, is involved in hormonal balance and abundant gene regulation. MiRNAs are key regulators in the process of cell differentiation and development. MiR397 was identified as participating in plant growth, development, and response to [...] Read more.
Callus growth and development, a crucial process in plant propagation, is involved in hormonal balance and abundant gene regulation. MiRNAs are key regulators in the process of cell differentiation and development. MiR397 was identified as participating in plant growth, development, and response to stress, and it was regulated by targeting the LAC gene. The regulatory function of miR397 during callus growth and development was not clear in Liriodendron. In this study, LhmiR397a and its targets were identified, and its regulatory function between LhmiR397a and LhLAC11 was shown using qRT-PCR and transient expression in protoplasts. Furthermore, to clarify the regulatory function of LhmiR397a-LhLAC11, transgenic calli overexpressing LhMIR397a, LhLAC11, and mLhLAC11 were separately obtained by Agrobacterium-mediated transfer. The results showed that overexpressing LhMIR397a might retard callus proliferation, while overexpressing LhLAC11 or mLhLAC11 could promote callus proliferation. Genes associated with the cell cycle had decreased expression when LhMIR397a was overexpressed, while increased expression was observed when LhLAC11 or mLhLAC11 was overexpressed. Additionally, the calli overexpressed with LhMIR397a could generate early cotyledons 21 days after induction, and the somatic embryo induction time was short compared with other genotypes. This study identified LhmiR397a and its targets and provided a functional characterization of LhmiR397a in callus growth and development by regulating its target in Liriodendron. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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13 pages, 4188 KiB  
Article
Integrated SMRT Technology with UMI RNA-Seq Reveals the Hub Genes in Stamen Petalody in Camellia oleifera
by Huie Li, Yang Hu, Chao Gao, Qiqiang Guo, Quanen Deng, Hong Nan, Lan Yang, Hongli Wei, Jie Qiu and Lu Yang
Forests 2021, 12(6), 749; https://doi.org/10.3390/f12060749 - 6 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2149
Abstract
Male sterility caused by stamen petalody is a key factor for a low fruit set rate and a low yield of Camellia oleifera but can serve as a useful genetic tool because it eliminates the need for artificial emasculation. However, its molecular regulation [...] Read more.
Male sterility caused by stamen petalody is a key factor for a low fruit set rate and a low yield of Camellia oleifera but can serve as a useful genetic tool because it eliminates the need for artificial emasculation. However, its molecular regulation mechanism still remains unclear. In this study, transcriptome was sequenced and analyzed on two types of bud materials, stamen petalody mutants and normal materials, at six stages of stamen development based on integrated single-molecule real-time (SMRT) technology with unique molecular identifiers (UMI) and RNA-seq technology to identify the hub genes responsible for stamen petalody in C. oleifera. The results show that a large number of alternative splicing events were identified in the transcriptome. A co-expression network analysis of MADSs and all the differentially expressed genes between the mutant stamens and the normal materials showed that four MADS transcription factor genes, CoSEP3.1, CoAGL6, CoSEP3.2, and CoAP3, were predicted to be the hub genes responsible for stamen petalody. Among these four, the expression patterns of CoAGL6 and CoSEP3.2 were consistently high in the mutant samples, but relatively low in the normal samples at six stages, while the patterns of CoSEP3.1 and CoAP3 were initially low in mutants and then were upregulated during development but remained relatively high in the normal materials. Furthermore, the genes with high connectivity to the hub genes showed significantly different expression patterns between the mutant stamens and the normal materials at different stages. qRT-PCR results showed a similar expression pattern of the hub genes in the RNA-seq. These results lay a solid foundation for the directive breeding of C. oleifera varieties and provide references for the genetic breeding of ornamental Camellia varieties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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Review

Jump to: Editorial, Research

21 pages, 1741 KiB  
Review
Toward the Genetic Improvement of Drought Tolerance in Conifers: An Integrated Approach
by Paolo Baldi and Nicola La Porta
Forests 2022, 13(12), 2016; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13122016 - 29 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3284
Abstract
The constant rise in the global temperature and unpredictable shifts in precipitation patterns are two of the main effects of climate change. Therefore, there is an increasing amount of interest in the identification of tree species, provenances and genotypes capable of withstanding more [...] Read more.
The constant rise in the global temperature and unpredictable shifts in precipitation patterns are two of the main effects of climate change. Therefore, there is an increasing amount of interest in the identification of tree species, provenances and genotypes capable of withstanding more arid conditions and tolerating drought stress. In the present review, we focus our attention on generally more susceptible conifers and describe the different strategies that plants adopt to respond to drought stress. We describe the main approaches taken in studies of conifer adaptations to low water availability, the advantages and limitations of each, and the main results obtained with each of these approaches in the recent years. Then we discuss how the increasing amount of morphological, physiological and genetic data may find practical applications in forest management, and in particular in next-generation breeding programs. Finally, we provide some recommendations for future research. In particular, we suggest extending future studies to a broader selection of species and genera, increasing the number of studies on adult plants, in particular those on gene expression, and distinguishing between the different types of drought stress that a tree can withstand during its life cycle. The integration of data coming from different disciplines and approaches will be a key factor to increasing our knowledge about a trait as complex as drought resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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17 pages, 1346 KiB  
Review
Wood Formation under Changing Environment: Omics Approaches to Elucidate the Mechanisms Driving the Early-to-Latewood Transition in Conifers
by Silvia Traversari, Alessio Giovannelli and Giovanni Emiliani
Forests 2022, 13(4), 608; https://doi.org/10.3390/f13040608 - 13 Apr 2022
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3070
Abstract
The global change scenarios highlight the urgency of clarifying the mechanisms driving the determination of wood traits in forest trees. Coniferous xylem is characterized by the alternation between earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW), on which proportions the wood density depend, one of the [...] Read more.
The global change scenarios highlight the urgency of clarifying the mechanisms driving the determination of wood traits in forest trees. Coniferous xylem is characterized by the alternation between earlywood (EW) and latewood (LW), on which proportions the wood density depend, one of the most important mechanical xylem qualities. However, the molecular mechanisms triggering the transition between the production of cells with the typical features of EW to the LW are still far from being completely elucidated. The increasing availability of omics resources for conifers, e.g., genomes and transcriptomes, would lay the basis for the comprehension of wood formation dynamics, boosting both breeding and gene-editing approaches. This review is intended to introduce the importance of wood formation dynamics and xylem traits of conifers in a changing environment. Then, an up-to-date overview of the omics resources available for conifers was reported, focusing on both genomes and transcriptomes. Later, an analysis of wood formation studies using omics approaches was conducted, with the aim of elucidating the main metabolic pathways involved in EW and LW determination. Finally, the future perspectives and the urgent needs on this research topic were highlighted. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Tree Genetics: Molecular and Functional Characterization of Genes)
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