Application of ITS2 Metabarcoding to Determine the Provenance of Pollen Collected by Honey Bees in an Agroecosystem
Rodney T. Richardson, Chia-Hua Lin, Douglas B. Sponsler, Juan O. Quijia, Karen Goodell, and Reed M. Johnson. 2015. Applications in Plant Sciences 3(1):1400066. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.3732/apps.1400066
Melissopalynology, the identification of bee-collected pollen, provides insight into the flowers exploited by foraging bees. Information provided by melissopalynology could guide floral enrichment efforts aimed at supporting pollinators, but it has rarely been used because traditional methods of pollen identification are laborious and require expert knowledge. We approach melissopalynology in a novel way, employing a molecular method to study the pollen foraging of honey bees (Apis mellifera) in a landscape dominated by field crops, and compare these results to those obtained by microscopic melissopalynology.
The potential for crop to wild hybridization in eggplant (Solanum melongena; Solanaceae) in southern India
In India and elsewhere, transgenic Bt eggplant (Solanum melongena) has been developed to reduce insect herbivore damage, but published studies of the potential for pollen-mediated, crop- to- wild gene flow are scant. This information is useful for risk assessments as well as in situ conservation strategies for wild germplasm.
Genetic diversity and population structure of wild/weedy eggplant (Solanum insanum, Solanaceae) in southern India: Implications for conservation
Crop wild relatives represent important genetic resources for crop improvement and the preservation of native biodiversity. Eggplant (Solanum melongena), known as brinjal in India, ranks high among crops whose wild gene pools are underrepresented in ex situ collections and warrant urgent conservation. Knowledge of outcrossing rates and patterns of genetic variation among wild populations can aid in designing strategies for both in situ and ex situ preservation.
Habitat visualization and genomic analysis of "Candidatus Pantoea carbekii", the primary symbiont of the brown marmorated stink bug.
Laura J. Kenyon, Tea Meulia, and Zakee L. Sabree. 2015. Genome Biol Evol. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evv006
Phytophagous pentatomid insects can negatively impact agricultural productivity and the brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys) is an emerging invasive pest responsible for damage to many fruit crops and ornamental plants in North America. Many phytophagous stink bugs, including H. halys, harbor gammaproteobacterial symbionts that likely contribute to host development, and characterization of symbiont transmission/acquisition and their contribution to host fitness may offer alternative strategies for managing pest species. "Candidatus Pantoea carbekii" is the primary occupant of gastric caeca lumina flanking the distal midgut of H. halys insects and it is acquired each generation when nymphs feed on maternal extrachorion secretions following hatching. Insects prevented from symbiont uptake exhibit developmental delays and aberrant behaviors. To infer contributions of “Ca. P. carbekii" to H. halys, the complete genome was sequenced and annotated from a North American H. halys population. Overall, the “Ca. P. carbekii" genome is nearly one-fourth (1.2 Mb) that of free-living congenerics, and retains genes encoding many functions that are potentially host-supportive. Gene content reflects patterns of gene loss/retention typical of intracellular mutualists of plant-feeding insects. Electron and fluorescence in situ microscopic imaging of H. halys egg surfaces revealed that maternal extrachorion secretions were populated with “Ca. P. carbekii" cells. The reported findings detail a transgenerational mode of symbiont transmission distinct from that observed for intracellular insect mutualists and illustrate the potential additive functions contributed by the bacterial symbiont to this important agricultural pest.
Phylogenetic relationships in Epidendroideae (Orchidaceae), one of the great flowering plant radiations: progressive specialization and diversification
John V. Freudenstein and Mark W. Chase. 2015. Ann Bot. doi: 10.1093/aob/mcu253
The largest subfamily of orchids, Epidendroideae, represents one of the most significant diversifications among flowering plants in terms of pollination strategy, vegetative adaptation and number of species. Although many groups in the subfamily have been resolved, significant relationships in the tree remain unclear, limiting conclusions about diversification and creating uncertainty in the classification. This study brings together DNA sequences from nuclear, plastid and mitochrondrial genomes in order to clarify relationships, to test associations of key characters with diversification and to improve the classification.
Mom Matters: Diapause Characteristics of Culex pipiens–Culex quinquefasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) Hybrid Mosquitoes
Females of the northern house mosquito, Culex pipiens L., are capable of entering an adult overwintering diapause characterized by arrested ovarian development, enhanced stress tolerance, and elevated lipid stores. In contrast, the southern house mosquito, Culex quinquefasciatus Say, lacks this capacity and is therefore unable to survive the harsh winters found in northern regions of North America. These two species are capable of forming fertile hybrids in the United States, yet the diapause characteristics of these hybrids have not been extensively investigated. We crossed Cx. pipiens from Columbus, OH, with Cx. quinquefasciatus from Vero Beach, FL, and reared F1 hybrids from all mothers separately under diapause-inducing, short-day conditions (a photoperiod of 8:16 [L:D] h) at 18°C. Egg follicle length and lipid content were used to assess the diapause status of hybrids. Diapause incidence of hybrids varied widely for progeny from different mothers of the same species, but hybrids with Cx. pipiens mothers were consistently more prone to enter diapause than hybrids that had Cx. quinquefasciatus mothers. Our results suggest a strong maternal influence on the diapause phenotype and that a high percentage (45–75%) of Cx. pipiens–Cx. quinquefasciatus hybrids are capable of entering diapause. This implies that many hybrids can successfully overwinter, leading to a possible widening of the hybrid zone of these two species in North America.