Genetically modified parthenocarpic eggplants: improved fruit productivity under both greenhouse and open field cultivation.
BACKGROUND: Parthenocarpy, or fruit development in the absence of fertilization, has been genetically engineered in eggplant and in other horticultural species by using the DefH9-iaaM gene. The iaaM gene codes for tryptophan monoxygenase and confers auxin synthesis, while the DefH9 controlling regions drive expression of the gene specifically in the ovules and placenta. A previous greenhouse trial for winter production of genetically engineered (GM) parthenocarpic eggplants demonstrated a significant increase (an average of 33% increase) in fruit production concomitant with a reduction in cultivation costs. RESULTS: GM parthenocarpic eggplants have been evaluated in three field trials. Two greenhouse spring trials have shown that these plants outyielded the corresponding untransformed genotypes, while a summer trial has shown that improved fruit productivity in GM eggplants can also be achieved in open field cultivation. Since the fruits were always seedless, the quality of GM eggplant fruits was improved as well. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated that the DefH9-iaaM gene is expressed during late stages of fruit development. CONCLUSIONS: The DefH9-iaaM parthenocarpic gene is a biotechnological tool that enhances the agronomic value of all eggplant genotypes tested. The main advantages of DefH9-iaaM eggplants are: i) improved fruit productivity (at least 30-35%) under both greenhouse and open field cultivation; ii) production of good quality (marketable) fruits during different types of cultivation; iii) seedless fruit with improved quality. Such advantages have been achieved without the use of either male or female sterility genes. (+info)
A comparative genetic linkage map of eggplant (Solanum melongena) and its implications for genome evolution in the solanaceae.
A molecular genetic linkage map based on tomato cDNA, genomic DNA, and EST markers was constructed for eggplant, Solanum melongena. The map consists of 12 linkage groups, spans 1480 cM, and contains 233 markers. Comparison of the eggplant and tomato maps revealed conservation of large tracts of colinear markers, a common feature of genome evolution in the Solanaceae and other plant families. Overall, eggplant and tomato were differentiated by 28 rearrangements, which could be explained by 23 paracentric inversions and five translocations during evolution from the species' last common ancestor. No pericentric inversions were detected. Thus, it appears that paracentric inversion has been the primary mechanism for chromosome evolution in the Solanaceae. Comparison of relative distributions of the types of rearrangements that distinguish pairs of solanaceous species also indicates that the frequency of different chromosomal structural changes was not constant over evolutionary time. On the basis of the number of chromosomal disruptions and an approximate divergence time for Solanum, approximately 0.19 rearrangements per chromosome per million years occurred during the evolution of eggplant and tomato from their last ancestor. This result suggests that genomes in Solanaceae, or at least in Solanum, are evolving at a moderate pace compared to other plant species. (+info)
Conservation of gene function in the solanaceae as revealed by comparative mapping of domestication traits in eggplant.
Quantitative trait loci (QTL) for domestication-related traits were identified in an interspecific F(2) population of eggplant (Solanum linnaeanum x S. melongena). Although 62 quantitative trait loci (QTL) were identified in two locations, most of the dramatic phenotypic differences in fruit weight, shape, color, and plant prickliness that distinguish cultivated eggplant from its wild relative could be attributed to six loci with major effects. Comparison of the genomic locations of the eggplant fruit weight, fruit shape, and color QTL with the positions of similar loci in tomato, potato, and pepper revealed that 40% of the different loci have putative orthologous counterparts in at least one of these other crop species. Overall, the results suggest that domestication of the Solanaceae has been driven by mutations in a very limited number of target loci with major phenotypic effects, that selection pressures were exerted on the same loci despite the crops' independent domestications on different continents, and that the morphological diversity of these four crops can be explained by divergent mutations at these loci. (+info)
Eggplant latent viroid, the candidate type species for a new genus within the family Avsunviroidae (hammerhead viroids).
Viroids, small circular RNAs that replicate independently and in most cases incite diseases in plants, are classified into the families Pospiviroidae, composed of species with a central conserved region (CCR) and without hammerhead ribozymes, and Avsunviroidae, composed of three members lacking CCR but able to self-cleave in both polarity strands through hammerhead ribozymes. Here we report the biological and molecular properties of Eggplant latent viroid (ELVd). Purified circular ELVd induces symptomless infections when inoculated into eggplant seedlings. ELVd can be transmitted horizontally and through seed. Sequencing 10 complete cDNA clones showed that ELVd is a circular RNA of 332 to 335 nucleotides with high variability. This RNA can adopt a quasi-rod-like secondary structure of minimal free energy and alternative foldings that permit formation of stable hammerhead structures in plus and minus strands. The ribozymes are active in vitro and, most likely, in vivo. Considering the ELVd properties to be intermediate between those of the two genera of family Avsunviroidae, we propose ELVd as the type species of a third genus with the name ELAVIROID: (+info)
Estimating photosynthetic radiation use efficiency using incident light and photosynthesis of individual leaves.
It has been theorized that photosynthetic radiation use efficiency (PhRUE) over the course of a day is constant for leaves throughout a canopy if leaf nitrogen content and photosynthetic properties are adapted to local light so that canopy photosynthesis over a day is optimized. To test this hypothesis, 'daily' photosynthesis of individual leaves of Solanum melongena plants was calculated from instantaneous rates of photosynthesis integrated over the daylight hours. Instantaneous photosynthesis was estimated from the photosynthetic responses to photosynthetically active radiation (PAR) and from the incident PAR measured on individual leaves during clear and overcast days. Plants were grown with either abundant or scarce N fertilization. Both net and gross daily photosynthesis of leaves were linearly related to daily incident PAR exposure of individual leaves, which implies constant PhRUE over a day throughout the canopy. The slope of these relationships (i.e. PhRUE) increased with N fertilization. When the relationship was calculated for hourly instead of daily periods, the regressions were curvilinear, implying that PhRUE changed with time of the day and incident radiation. Thus, linearity (i.e. constant PhRUE) was achieved only when data were integrated over the entire day. Using average PAR in place of instantaneous incident PAR increased the slope of the relationship between daily photosynthesis and incident PAR of individual leaves, and the regression became curvilinear. The slope of the relationship between daily gross photosynthesis and incident PAR of individual leaves increased for an overcast compared with a clear day, but the slope remained constant for net photosynthesis. This suggests that net PhRUE of all leaves (and thus of the whole canopy) may be constant when integrated over a day, not only when the incident PAR changes with depth in the canopy, but also when it varies on the same leaf owing to changes in daily incident PAR above the canopy. The slope of the relationship between daily net photosynthesis and incident PAR was also estimated from the photosynthetic light response curve of a leaf at the top of the canopy and from the incident PAR above the canopy, in place of that measured on individual leaves. The slope (i.e. net PhRUE) calculated in this simple way did not differ statistically from that calculated using data from individual leaves. (+info)
Evidence for essential histidine and dicarboxylic amino-acid residues in the active site of UDP-glucose : solasodine glucosyltransferase from eggplant leaves.
Effects of several chemical probes selectively modifying various amino-acid residues on the activity of UDP-glucose : solasodine glucosyltransferase from eggplant leaves was studied. It was shown that diethylpyrocarbonate (DEPC), a specific modifier of histidine residues, was strongly inhibitory. However, in the presence of excessive amounts of the enzyme substrates, i.e. either UDP-glucose or solasodine, the inhibitory effect of DEPC was much weaker indicating that histidine (or histidines) are present in the active site of the enzyme. Our results suggest also that unmodified residues of glutamic (or aspartic) acid, lysine, cysteine, tyrosine and tryptophan are necessary for full activity of the enzyme. Reagents modifying serine and arginine residues have no effect on the enzyme activity. (+info)
Bayesian estimation of genomic distance.
We present a Bayesian approach to the problem of inferring the number of inversions and translocations separating two species. The main reason for developing this method is that it will allow us to test hypotheses about the underlying mechanisms, such as the distribution of inversion track lengths or rate constancy among lineages. Here, we apply these methods to comparative maps of eggplant and tomato, human and cat, and human and cattle with 170, 269, and 422 markers, respectively. In the first case the most likely number of events is larger than the parsimony value. In the last two cases the parsimony solutions have very small probability. (+info)
Eggplant (Solanum melongena) extract does not alter serum lipid levels.
OBJECTIVE: To compare the effect of eggplant extract on serum lipid levels with that of lovastatin. METHODS: The study included 21 individuals of both sexes, with total cholesterol (TC) levels > 200 mg/dL, no diabetes, no contraindication for the use of statins, and no use of cholesterol-lowering drugs, divided into the following 3 groups: 1) the eggplant group (B), in which the patients drank 1 glass of eggplant extract with orange juice before breakfast each morning; 2) the statin group (E), in which the patients received 20 mg of lovastatin in the evening after dinner; 3) control group (C), in which the patients received no treatment. Total cholesterol and fractions (HDL, LDL), and triglycerides were measured 3 times at 3-week intervals. RESULTS: The baseline lipid levels were similar in the 3 groups. After 6 weeks, a significant reduction in TC levels (from 245.29 +/- 41.69 to 205.71 +/- 46.45; P=0.02) and in LDL-cholesterol levels (from 170.83 +/- 41.76 to 121.29 +/- 44.90; P=0.008) was observed in group E. In group B, total cholesterol (from 230.60 +/- 19.30 to 240.20 +/- 16.22; P=0.27) and LDL-cholesterol (from 139.60 +/- 21.49 to 154.40 +/- 9.66; P=0.06) showed no statistically significant variation, as in group C. No significant variation was observed in the HDL-cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the 3 groups throughout the study. CONCLUSION: The eggplant extract with orange juice is not to be considered an alternative to statins in reducing serum levels of cholesterol. (+info)