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Type: Journal article
Title: Generation of an integrated Hieracium genomic and transcriptomic resource enables exploration of small RNA pathways during apomixis initiation
Author: Rabiger, D.
Taylor, J.
Spriggs, A.
Hand, M.
Henderson, S.
Johnson, S.
Oelkers, K.
Hrmova, M.
Saito, K.
Suzuki, G.
Mukai, M.
Carroll, B.
Koltunow, A.
Citation: BMC Biology, 2016; 14(1):86-1-86-21
Publisher: BioMed Central
Issue Date: 2016
ISSN: 1741-7007
Statement of
David S. Rabiger, Jennifer M. Taylor, Andrew Spriggs, Melanie L. Hand, Steven T. Henderson, Susan D. Johnson, Karsten Oelkers, Maria Hrmova, Keisuke Saito, Go Suzuki, Yasuhiko Mukai, Bernard J. Carroll, and Anna M. G. Koltunow
Abstract: Background: Application of apomixis, or asexual seed formation, in crop breeding would allow rapid fixation of complex traits, economizing improved crop delivery. Identification of apomixis genes is confounded by the polyploid nature, high genome complexity and lack of genomic sequence integration with reproductive tissue transcriptomes in most apomicts. Results: A genomic and transcriptomic resource was developed for Hieracium subgenus Pilosella (Asteraceae) which incorporates characterized sexual, apomictic and mutant apomict plants exhibiting reversion to sexual reproduction. Apomicts develop additional female gametogenic cells that suppress the sexual pathway in ovules. Disrupting small RNA pathways in sexual Arabidopsis also induces extra female gametogenic cells; therefore, the resource was used to examine if changes in small RNA pathways correlate with apomixis initiation. An initial characterization of small RNA pathway genes within Hieracium was undertaken, and ovary-expressed ARGONAUTE genes were identified and cloned. Comparisons of whole ovary transcriptomes from mutant apomicts, relative to the parental apomict, revealed that differentially expressed genes were enriched for processes involved in small RNA biogenesis and chromatin silencing. Small RNA profiles within mutant ovaries did not reveal large-scale alterations in composition or length distributions; however, a small number of differentially expressed, putative small RNA targets were identified. Conclusions: The established Hieracium resource represents a substantial contribution towards the investigation of early sexual and apomictic female gamete development, and the generation of new candidate genes and markers. Observed changes in small RNA targets and biogenesis pathways within sexual and apomictic ovaries will underlie future functional research into apomixis initiation in Hieracium. research into apomixis initiation in Hieracium.
Keywords: Asteraceae; Seeds; RNA, Plant; Gene Expression Regulation, Plant; Genes, Plant; Ovule; Apomixis
Rights: © 2016 Rabiger et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.
RMID: 0030055994
DOI: 10.1186/s12915-016-0311-0
Appears in Collections:Agriculture, Food and Wine publications

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