Several poplar species within a section, but also between sections, are cross-compatible, thus a high number of interspecies-hybrids occur naturally or have been artificially produced during the last 100 years. Very often, systematically kept records on the production or vegetative propagation of poplar hybrids and/or clones have not been available to date. Hence the origin of the poplar plant material used for the generation of hybrids or clones is not quite clear in many cases, thus making the differentiation between the clones a difficult task. Therefore, genetic markers are needed to clearly identify and differentiate the species and hybrids in the genus Populus, including both identification of existing clones and the breeding of new ones. One aspect of this study is therefore to develop molecular markers for the identification and differentiation of species, hybrids, and clones of the genus Populus.
Different species of the genus Eucalyptus, originally native to Australia, are being cultivated in different parts of the world due to their fast growth and beneficial wood properties. In Mexico, probably up to 25 different Eucalyptus species (many of them with unknown species declaration) were introduced early in the 20th century. Many Eucalyptus species are cross compatible and information about provenances of the single eucalypt species is rare. In this study, an experimental plantation established in 1984 and located in Northeast of Mexico was chosen as example to re-assign the species name of six randomly selected Eucalyptus trees growing in this plantation. First, a phylogenetic tree was constructed from complete chloroplast sequences of 31 Eucalyptus species available in the NCBI database. The phylogenetic tree includes three of the nine Eucalyptus species known to be introduced to Mexico, namely E. camaldulensis, E. saligna and E. grandis, which belong to a clade named “Symphyomyrts”. By employing combined BLASTN and UPGMA analyses of six chloroplast (cp) regions, three of the six unknown eucalypt samples (Euc4, 5, 6) cluster together with E. microtheca and E. cladocalyx, whereas the other three (Euc1, 2, 3) were more similar to a group containing E. camaldulensis, E. grandis and E. saligna. UPGMA analysis of the ITS region overall shows the same rough clustering, but provide more detailed information for two samples being most likely assigned to E. camaldulensis.
A major concern over the use of transgenic trees is the potential for transgene dispersal through pollen and seeds. The incorporation of sterility inducing genes into transgenic lines of trees has been proposed to reduce or even avoid gene flow of transgenes into non-transgenic interbreeding species. The evaluation of strategies for the induction of sterility in transgenic forest tree species has been hindered by their long vegetative phases. In this study an early flowering 35S::Leafy poplar line was used for the faster evaluation of the sterility construct C-GPDHC::Vst1. The combination of two transgenic approaches, one to induce early flowering and a second for the induction of sterility, allowed evaluation of this sterility strategy two years after transformation. This is a very short period of time considering the long vegetative period of seven to twenty years common in forest tree species. This approach opens opportunities for the assessment of sterility mechanisms for this plant group.
Black poplar (Populus nigra L.) is a keystone species of riparian softwood forests along riversides in vast areas of Europe, Western Asia and Northern Africa. Since the end of the 20th century, black poplar has been recognized as an endangered species throughout Europe due to the loss of its natural habitat and possible crossbreeding with hybrid poplars. Using twelve nuclear SSR loci, we analysed the genetic structure of four native populations from three river valleys in the northern part of Serbia. All tested loci were highly polymorphic, displaying 8 to 25 alleles per locus, overall 179 detected alleles and an average effective number of alleles 5.87. Observed heterozygosity (overall Ho = 0.703) has been lower than the expected (overall He = 0.808) in each population, which indicates positive mean of fixation index values (overall Fis > 0 (0.132)). An AMOVA analysis revealed that the highest degree of genetic variation occurred within populations (95.33 %) while the genetic variation between populations was really low (4.67 %). High gene flow and no significant loss of allelic diversity have been recorded in the studied populations in Serbia.
Populus trichocarpa and P. deltoides are the only Populus species known to date to have a publicly available nuclear genome sequence that has been assembled to chromosomes and annotated (https://phytozome.jgi.doe.gov/). Here we focus on the clone INRA 717-1B4, a female P. tremula x P. alba (P. x canescens) interspecific hybrid that is universally used by scientists worldwide as a tree model in transgenic experiments. The already available INRA 717-1B4 nuclear genomic resource (v1.1 of sPta717 at http://aspendb.uga.edu/index.php/databases/spta-717-genome) presents only INRA 717-1B4 genomic regions with high similarity to the P. trichocarpa genomic reference sequences. We assembled draft genomic scaffolds by a combination of de novo assembly with reference-based assembly using 30x resequencing NGS data (Illumina MiSeq® and Ion Torrent Ion PGM™) of INRA 717-1B4. In total, 419,969 scaffolds of length larger than 500 bp were generated. The mean length of the scaffolds is 2,166 bp and the size of the largest scaffold 84,573 bp. The N50 contig length is 3,850 bp when considering contigs larger than 1,000 bp. Probably due to the high level of heterozygosity of this interspecific hybrid, the accumulated scaffold length is with 0.9 GB about twice the expected size of the haploid nuclear genome. DNA sequences of the genomic scaffolds of INRA 717-1B4 are publicly available for Blast analyses and download via the new INRA web portal at https://urgi.versailles.inra.fr/Species/Forest-trees/Populus/Clone-INRA-717-1B4/. This new genomic sequence resource will complement the already available INRA 717-1B4 resources and will facilitate the future optimization of genetic transformation experiments to discover gene function.