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  1. Abstract

    The development of next-generation sequencing (NGS) enabled a shift from array-based genotyping to directly sequencing genomic libraries for high-throughput genotyping. Even though whole-genome sequencing was initially too costly for routine analysis in large populations such as breeding or genetic studies, continued advancements in genome sequencing and bioinformatics have provided the opportunity to capitalize on whole-genome information. As new sequencing platforms can routinely provide high-quality sequencing data for sufficient genome coverage to genotype various breeding populations, a limitation comes in the time and cost of library construction when multiplexing a large number of samples. Here we describe a high-throughput whole-genome skim-sequencing (skim-seq) approach that can be utilized for a broad range of genotyping and genomic characterization. Using optimized low-volume Illumina Nextera chemistry, we developed a skim-seq method and combined up to 960 samples in one multiplex library using dual index barcoding. With the dual-index barcoding, the number of samples for multiplexing can be adjusted depending on the amount of data required, and could be extended to 3,072 samples or more. Panels of doubled haploid wheat lines (Triticum aestivum, CDC Stanley x CDC Landmark), wheat-barley (T.aestivumxHordeum vulgare) and wheat-wheatgrass (Triticum durum x Thinopyrum intermedium) introgression lines as well as known monosomic wheat stocks were genotyped using the skim-seq approach. Bioinformatics pipelines were developed for various applications where sequencing coverage ranged from 1 × down to 0.01 × per sample. Using reference genomes, we detected chromosome dosage, identified aneuploidy, and karyotyped introgression lines from the skim-seq data. Leveraging the recent advancements in genome sequencing, skim-seq provides an effective and low-cost tool for routine genotyping and genetic analysis, which can track and identify introgressions and genomic regions of interest in genetics research and applied breeding programs.

     
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  2. Abstract

    Hessian fly (HF;Mayetiola destructorSay) causes severe damage to wheat (Triticum aestivumL.) worldwide. Several resistance genes have been identified in wheat and wild relatives; however, HF populations are under strong selection pressure and evolve rapidly to overcome resistance. To ensure the availability of resistance sources, HF‐resistant germplasm KS18WGRC65 (TA5110, Reg. no. GP‐1042, PI 688251) was developed by Wheat Genetics Resource Center at Kansas State University as a breeding stock that carries resistance geneH26fromAegilops tauschiiCoss. KS18WGRC65 is a cytogenetically stable, homozygous, BC3F3:6line derived from the cross betweenAe. tauschiiaccession KU2147 and hard red winter wheat recurrent parent ‘Overley’. KS18WGRC65 exhibited no penalty for yield or other agronomic characters, making it a suitable source of HF resistance for wheat breeding.

     
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  3. Abstract

    Genebanks are valuable resources for crop improvement through the acquisition,ex-situconservation and sharing of unique germplasm among plant breeders and geneticists. With over seven million existing accessions and increasing storage demands and costs, genebanks need efficient characterization and curation to make them more accessible and usable and to reduce operating costs, so that the crop improvement community can most effectively leverage this vast resource of untapped novel genetic diversity. However, the sharing and inconsistent documentation of germplasm often results in unintentionally duplicated collections with poor characterization and many identical accessions that can be hard or impossible to identify without passport information and unmatched accession identifiers. Here we demonstrate the use of genotypic information from these accessions using a cost-effective next generation sequencing platform to find and remove duplications. We identify and characterize over 50% duplicated accessions both within and across genebank collections ofAegilops tauschii, an important wild relative of wheat and source of genetic diversity for wheat improvement. We present a pipeline to identify and remove identical accessions within and among genebanks and curate globally unique accessions. We also show how this approach can also be applied to future collection efforts to avoid the accumulation of identical material. When coordinated across global genebanks, this approach will ultimately allow for cost effective and efficient management of germplasm and better stewarding of these valuable resources.

     
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  4. Abstract The introgression of chromosome segments from wild relatives is an established strategy to enrich crop germplasm with disease-resistance genes 1 . Here we use mutagenesis and transcriptome sequencing to clone the leaf rust resistance gene Lr9 , which was introduced into bread wheat from the wild grass species Aegilops umbellulata 2 . We established that Lr9 encodes an unusual tandem kinase fusion protein. Long-read sequencing of a wheat Lr9 introgression line and the putative Ae. umbellulata Lr9 donor enabled us to assemble the ~28.4-Mb Lr9 translocation and to identify the translocation breakpoint. We likewise cloned Lr58 , which was reportedly introgressed from Aegilops triuncialis 3 , but has an identical coding sequence compared to Lr9 . Cytogenetic and haplotype analyses corroborate that the two genes originate from the same translocation event. Our work sheds light on the emerging role of kinase fusion proteins in wheat disease resistance, expanding the repertoire of disease-resistance genes for breeding. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  5. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2024
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 19, 2024
  7. Abstract Extrachromosomal circular DNAs (eccDNAs) are found in many eukaryotic organisms. EccDNA-powered copy number variation plays diverse roles, from oncogenesis in humans to herbicide resistance in crop weeds. Here, we report interspecific eccDNA flow and its dynamic behavior in soma cells of natural populations and F1 hybrids of Amaranthus sp. The glyphosate-resistance (GR) trait is controlled by eccDNA-based amplification harboring the 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase (EPSPS) gene (eccDNA replicon), the molecular target of glyphosate. We documented pollen-mediated transfer of eccDNA in experimental hybrids between glyphosate-susceptible Amaranthus tuberculatus and GR Amaranthus palmeri. Experimental hybridization and fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed that the eccDNA replicon in Amaranthus spinosus derived from GR A. palmeri by natural hybridization. FISH analysis also revealed random chromosome anchoring and massive eccDNA replicon copy number variation in soma cells of weedy hybrids. The results suggest that eccDNAs are inheritable across compatible species, contributing to genome plasticity and rapid adaptive evolution. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 15, 2024
  8. Plant breeding relies on crossing-over to create novel combinations of alleles needed to confer increased productivity and other desired traits in new varieties. However, crossover (CO) events are rare, as usually only one or two of them occur per chromosome in each generation. In addition, COs are not distributed evenly along chromosomes. In plants with large genomes, which includes most crops, COs are predominantly formed close to chromosome ends, and there are few COs in the large chromosome swaths around centromeres. This situation has created interest in engineering CO landscape to improve breeding efficiency. Methods have been developed to boost COs globally by altering expression of anti-recombination genes and increase CO rates in certain chromosome parts by changing DNA methylation patterns. In addition, progress is being made to devise methods to target COs to specific chromosome sites. We review these approaches and examine using simulations whether they indeed have the capacity to improve efficiency of breeding programs. We found that the current methods to alter CO landscape can produce enough benefits for breeding programs to be attractive. They can increase genetic gain in recurrent selection and significantly decrease linkage drag around donor loci in schemes to introgress a trait from unimproved germplasm to an elite line. Methods to target COs to specific genome sites were also found to provide advantage when introgressing a chromosome segment harboring a desirable quantitative trait loci. We recommend avenues for future research to facilitate implementation of these methods in breeding programs. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 4, 2024