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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. Abstract— The genus Solidago represents a taxonomically challenging group due to its sheer number of species, putative hybridization, polyploidy, and shallow genetic divergence among species. Here we use a dataset obtained exclusively from herbarium specimens to evaluate the status of Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri , a morphologically subtle taxon potentially confined to Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Missouri. A multivariate analysis of both discrete and continuous morphological data revealed no clear distinction between S. ulmifolia var. palmeri and Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia . Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri ’s status was also assessed with a phylogenomic and SNP clustering analysis of data generated with the “Angiosperms353” probe kit. Neither analysis supported Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri as a distinct taxon, and we suggest that this name should be discarded. The status of Solidago delicatula (formerly known as Solidago ulmifolia var. microphylla ) was also assessed. Both morphological and phylogenetic analyses supported the species status of S. delicatula and we suggest maintaining this species at its current rank. These results highlight the utility of the Angiosperms353 probe kit, both with herbarium tissue and at lower taxonomic levels. Indeed, this is the first study to utilize this kit to identify genetic groups within a species.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 21, 2022
  4. Eyre-Walker, Adam (Ed.)
    Abstract The invasive Japanese stiltgrass (Microstegium vimineum) affects a wide range of ecosystems and threatens biodiversity across the eastern USA. However, the mechanisms underlying rapid adaptation, plasticity, and epigenetics in the invasive range are largely unknown. We present a chromosome-level assembly for M. vimineum to investigate genome dynamics, evolution, adaptation, and the genomics of phenotypic plasticity. We generated a 1.12-Gb genome with scaffold N50 length of 53.44 Mb respectively, taking a de novo assembly approach that combined PacBio and Dovetail Genomics Omni-C sequencing. The assembly contains 23 pseudochromosomes, representing 99.96% of the genome. BUSCO assessment indicated that 80.3% of Poales gene groups are present in the assembly. The genome is predicted to contain 39,604 protein-coding genes, of which 26,288 are functionally annotated. Furthermore, 66.68% of the genome is repetitive, of which unclassified (35.63%) and long-terminal repeat (LTR) retrotransposons (26.90%) are predominant. Similar to other grasses, Gypsy (41.07%) and Copia (32%) are the most abundant LTR-retrotransposon families. The majority of LTR-retrotransposons are derived from a significant expansion in the past 1–2 Myr, suggesting the presence of relatively young LTR-retrotransposon lineages. We find corroborating evidence from Ks plots for a stiltgrass-specific duplication event, distinct from the more ancient grass-specific duplication event. The assembly and annotationmore »of M. vimineum will serve as an essential genomic resource facilitating studies of the invasion process, the history and consequences of polyploidy in grasses, and provides a crucial tool for natural resource managers.« less
  5. Dozois, Charles M. (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Gram-positive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an emerging cause of hospital-associated urinary tract infections (UTI), especially in catheterized individuals. Despite being rare, MRSA UTI are prone to potentially life-threatening exacerbations such as bacteremia that can be refractory to routine antibiotic therapy. To delineate the molecular mechanisms governing MRSA urinary pathogenesis, we exposed three S. aureus clinical isolates, including two MRSA strains, to human urine for 2 h and analyzed virulence characteristics and changes in gene expression. The in vitro virulence assays showed that human urine rapidly alters adherence to human bladder epithelial cells and fibronectin, hemolysis of sheep red blood cells (RBCs), and surface hydrophobicity in a staphylococcal strain-specific manner. In addition, transcriptome sequencing (RNA-Seq) analysis of uropathogenic strain MRSA-1369 revealed that 2-h-long exposure to human urine alters MRSA transcriptome by modifying expression of genes encoding enzymes catalyzing metabolic pathways, virulence factors, and transcriptional regulators. In summary, our results provide important insights into how human urine specifically and rapidly alters MRSA physiology and facilitates MRSA survival in the nutrient-limiting and hostile urinary microenvironment. IMPORTANCE Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is an uncommon cause of urinary tract infections (UTI) in the general population. However, it is important to understand MRSA pathophysiologymore »in the urinary tract because isolation of MRSA in urine samples often precedes potentially life-threatening MRSA bacteremia. In this report, we describe how exposure to human urine alters MRSA global gene expression and virulence. We hypothesize that these alterations may aid MRSA in acclimating to the nutrient-limiting, immunologically hostile conditions within the urinary tract leading to MRSA UTI.« less