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  1. Abstract

    Interspecies grafting is an economically relevant technique that allows beneficial shoot and root combinations from separate species to be combined. One hypothesis for the basis of graft compatibility revolves around taxonomic relatedness. To test how phylogenetic distance affects interspecific graft compatibility within the economically important Solanaceae subfamily, Solanoideae, we characterized the anatomical and biophysical integrity of graft junctions between four species: tomato (Solanum lycopersicum), eggplant (Solanum melongena), pepper (Capsicum annuum), and groundcherry (Physalis pubescens). We analyzed the survival, growth, integrity, and cellular composition of the graft junctions. Utilizing various techniques, we were able to quantitatively assess compatibility among the interspecific grafts. Even though most of our graft combinations could survive, we show that only intrageneric combinations between tomato and eggplant are compatible. Unlike incompatible grafts, the formation of substantial vascular reconnections between tomato and eggplant in the intrageneric heterografts likely contributed to biophysically stable grafts. Furthermore, we identified 10 graft combinations that show delayed incompatibility, providing a useful system to pursue deeper work into graft compatibility. This work provides new evidence that graft compatibility may be limited to intrageneric combinations within the Solanoideae subfamily. Further research amongst additional Solanaceous species can be used to test the extent to which our hypothesis applies to this family.

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  2. Slotte, Tanja (Ed.)
    Abstract Euphorbia peplus (petty spurge) is a small, fast-growing plant that is native to Eurasia and has become a naturalized weed in North America and Australia. E. peplus is not only medicinally valuable, serving as a source for the skin cancer drug ingenol mebutate, but also has great potential as a model for latex production owing to its small size, ease of manipulation in the laboratory, and rapid reproductive cycle. To help establish E. peplus as a new model, we generated a 267.2 Mb Hi-C-anchored PacBio HiFi nuclear genome assembly with an BUSCO score of 98.5%, a genome annotation based on RNA-seq data from six organs, and publicly accessible tools including a genome browser and an interactive organ-specific expression atlas. Chromosome number is highly variable across Euphorbia species. Using a comparative analysis of our newly sequenced E. peplus genome with other Euphorbiaceae genomes, we show that variation in Euphorbia chromosome number between E. peplus and E. lathyris is likely due to fragmentation and rearrangement rather than chromosomal duplication followed by diploidization of the duplicated sequence. Moreover, we found that the E. peplus genome is relatively compact compared to related members of the genus in part due to restricted expansion of the Ty3 transposon family. Finally, we identify a large gene cluster that contains many previously identified enzymes in the putative ingenol mebutate biosynthesis pathway, along with additional gene candidates for this biosynthetic pathway. The genomic resources we have created for E. peplus will help advance research on latex production and ingenol mebutate biosynthesis in the commercially important Euphorbiaceae family. 
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  3. Abstract The Solanaceae or “nightshade” family is an economically important group with remarkable diversity. To gain a better understanding of how the unique biology of the Solanaceae relates to the family’s small RNA (sRNA) genomic landscape, we downloaded over 255 publicly available sRNA data sets that comprise over 2.6 billion reads of sequence data. We applied a suite of computational tools to predict and annotate two major sRNA classes: (1) microRNAs (miRNAs), typically 20- to 22-nucleotide (nt) RNAs generated from a hairpin precursor and functioning in gene silencing and (2) short interfering RNAs (siRNAs), including 24-nt heterochromatic siRNAs typically functioning to repress repetitive regions of the genome via RNA-directed DNA methylation, as well as secondary phased siRNAs and trans-acting siRNAs generated via miRNA-directed cleavage of a polymerase II-derived RNA precursor. Our analyses described thousands of sRNA loci, including poorly understood clusters of 22-nt siRNAs that accumulate during viral infection. The birth, death, expansion, and contraction of these sRNA loci are dynamic evolutionary processes that characterize the Solanaceae family. These analyses indicate that individuals within the same genus share similar sRNA landscapes, whereas comparisons between distinct genera within the Solanaceae reveal relatively few commonalities. 
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  6. Premise

    Leaf morphology is dynamic, continuously deforming during leaf expansion and among leaves within a shoot. Here, we measured the leaf morphology of more than 200 grapevines (Vitisspp.) over four years and modeled changes in leaf shape along the shoot to determine whether a composite leaf shape comprising all the leaves from a single shoot can better capture the variation and predict species identity compared with individual leaves.


    Using homologous universal landmarks found in grapevine leaves, we modeled various morphological features as polynomial functions of leaf nodes. The resulting functions were used to reconstruct modeled leaf shapes across the shoots, generating composite leaves that comprehensively capture the spectrum of leaf morphologies present.


    We found that composite leaves are better predictors of species identity than individual leaves from the same plant. We were able to use composite leaves to predict the species identity of previously unassigned grapevines, which were verified with genotyping.


    Observations of individual leaf shape fail to capture the true diversity between species. Composite leaf shape—an assemblage of modeled leaf snapshots across the shoot—is a better representation of the dynamic and essential shapes of leaves, in addition to serving as a better predictor of species identity than individual leaves.

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