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Halasz J.,Corvinus University of Budapest | Kodad O.,National School of Agriculture, Meknes | Hegedus A.,Corvinus University of Budapest
Plant Journal | Year: 2014

Miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs) are known to contribute to the evolution of plants, but only limited information is available for MITEs in the Prunus genome. We identified a MITE that has been named Falling Stones, FaSt. All structural features (349-bp size, 82-bp terminal inverted repeats and 9-bp target site duplications) are consistent with this MITE being a putative member of the Mutator transposase superfamily. FaSt showed a preferential accumulation in the short AT-rich segments of the euchromatin region of the peach genome. DNA sequencing and pollination experiments have been performed to confirm that the nested insertion of FaSt into the S-haplotype-specific F-box gene of apricot resulted in the breakdown of self-incompatibility (SI). A bioinformatics-based survey of the known Rosaceae and other genomes and a newly designed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay verified the Prunoideae-specific occurrence of FaSt elements. Phylogenetic analysis suggested a recent activity of FaSt in the Prunus genome. The occurrence of a nested insertion in the apricot genome further supports the recent activity of FaSt in response to abiotic stress conditions. This study reports on a presumably active non-autonomous Mutator element in Prunus that exhibits a major indirect genome shaping force through inducing loss-of-function mutation in the SI locus. © 2014 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2014 John Wiley & Sons Ltd. Source

Moujahid Y.,Center Regional Of La Recherche Agronomique | Bouabid R.,National School of Agriculture, Meknes
Journal of Materials and Environmental Science | Year: 2014

The Clay fractions of five Moroccan vertisols (Chaouia, Gharb, Doukalla, Zair, and Sais) as well as a reference smectite (montmorillonite SWY-1) were Ca-saturated and dispersed in K+Ca2+ binary exchange solutions with constant ionic forces of 10-2 at 25°C. Exchange isotherms established showed that K is preferentially adsorbed compared to Ca2+ in all soil clays and the reference smectite. The clay fraction of the Ch-Chaouia soil, which is dominantly beidellitic, represents the highest affinity for K+. For all other soil clays, the values of the Vanselow (KV) exchange selectivity coefficient, Gaines and Thomas (KGT), and Gapon (KG) were higher than 1. This corroborates the fact that clays fractions of vertisols dominated by smectites are highly selective to K+ compared to Ca2+. The regression coefficient show that a two-site adsorption model predicts well the adsorption parameters α, KV1, KV2 and N0. The site 1 (α) portion is more important in the Chaouia soil clay (α = 0.248) and the least in the Doukkala soil clay (α = 0.078). The selectivity coefficient of sites 1 (KV1) is less important for the reference Montmorillonite SWY-1 compared to all soil clays. For sites 2, the selectivity coefficients (KV2) are of less importance and vary from 1.77 (mole/l)-1 for SWY-1 to 12.54 (mole/l)-1 for the Chaouia soil clay. The equilibrium constants (Kéq) of the K-Ca exchange at 25°C are greater than 1. They are highest for the Chaouia clay and the lowest for the SWY-1 reference montmorillonite. For all clays, the standard free enthalpy (ΔG°) has negative values varying from -5 to 0 KJ/éq. Source

Kodad O.,National School of Agriculture, Meknes | Hegedus A.,Corvinus University of Budapest | Socias i Company R.,CSIC - Centro de Investigacion y Tecnologia Agroalimentaria | Halasz J.,Corvinus University of Budapest
BMC Plant Biology | Year: 2013

Background: Allelic diversity of the S-locus is attributed to the genetic relationships among genotypes and sexual reproduction strategy. In otherwise self-incompatible Prunus species, the emergence of loss-of-function in S-haplotypes has resulted in self-compatibility. This information may allow following major stages of crop history. The genetic diversity in the S-locus of local apricots (Prunus armeniaca L.) from different oasis ecosystems in Morocco and the comparison of the occurrence and frequency of S-alleles with other regions may allow testing the validity of previous theories on the origin and dissemination of North African apricots. Results: The S-genotypes of 55 Moroccan apricot accessions were determined, resulting in 37 self-compatible genotypes, from which 33 were homozygotes for self-compatibility. SC was the most frequent S-allele in this germplasm, followed by S13, S7, S11, S2, S20, S8, and S6. New approaches (CAPS or allele-specific PCR) were designed for a reliable verification of the rare or unexpected alleles. The frequency and distribution of the S-alleles differed among the oases. Some of these alleles, S8, S11, S13 and S20, were formerly detected only in the Irano Caucasian germplasm and are not present in Europe.Conclusions: Our data supports the Irano-Caucasian origin of the Moroccan apricots and their original introduction by Phoenicians and Arabs through the North African shore. North Africa seems to have preserved much higher variability of apricot as compared with Europe. The loss of genetic diversity in apricot might be explained by the occurrence of self-compatibility and the length of time that apricot has spent with this breeding system in an environment without its wild relatives, such as the Moroccan oases or Central Europe. © 2013 Kodad et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. Source

Moujahid Y.,Center Regional Of La Recherche Agronomique | Bouabid R.,National School of Agriculture, Meknes
Journal of Materials and Environmental Science | Year: 2015

In this study, the clayey fractions from vertisols of five major agricultural regions of Morocco, the Chaouia, the Gharb, the Zaërs, the Doukkala and the Saïs were studied. A reference smetite, the Wyoming montmorillonite (SWY-1) was used for comparison. X-ray diffraction on samples subjected to Mg and K saturations, as well as solvations using ethylene glycol and heating to 550°C allowed the identification and the semi quantification of the mineral species constituting the clay fraction. The interlayer charge of the 2:1 clays was estimated by the method of intercalation by the alkylammonium chains. CEC was also determined before and after saturation with lithium and heating to determine total CEC and tetrahedral CEC. The results showed that the clayey fractions of the five moroccan vertisols studied are essentially constituted of smectites associated to variable, but often weak amounts of illite, kaolinite, chlorite, quartz and feldspars. The smectites of the vertisols of the Chaouia and the Zaër are beidellitic, while those of the Gharb, Saïs and Doukkalas are mixed beidellite and montmorillonite. The alkylammonium method revealed that the interlayer charge of the smectites varied between 0.57 mol(c) for the vertisol of the Chaouia and 0.36 mole(c) for that of the Doukkala. The total, octahedral and tetrahedral CECs were in agreement with the charge determined by the alkylammoniums. The clayey fractions studied presented high total CEC, variying from 85,3 and 108,5 cmole+/kg and varying tetrahedral CEC ranging from 45,8 and 76,4 mole(c)/kg, reflecting the nature of the smectites (beidellite vs. mixed beidellite-montmorionnite) in clay mineralogy of each soil. Source

Lybbert T.J.,University of California at Davis | Aboudrare A.,National School of Agriculture, Meknes | Chaloud D.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency | Magnan N.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Nash M.,U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America | Year: 2011

Morocco's argan oil is now the most expensive edible oil in the world. High-value argan markets have sparked a bonanza of argan activity. Nongovernmental organizations, international and domestic development agencies, and argan oil cooperatives aggressively promote the win - win aim of simultaneously benefiting local people and the health of the argan forest. This paper tests some of these win - win claims. Analysis of a panel of detailed household data suggests that the boom has enabled some rural households to increase consumption, increase their goat herds (which bodes poorly for the argan forest), and send their girls to secondary school. The boom has predictably made households vigilant guardians of fruit on the tree, but it has not incited investments in longer term tree and forest health. We evaluate landscape-level impacts of these changes using commune-level data on educational enrollment and normalized difference vegetation index data over the period from 1981 to 2009. The results of the mesoanalysis of enrollment are consistent with the microanalysis: the argan boom seems to have improved educational outcomes, especially for girls. Our normalized difference vegetation index analysis, however, suggests that booming argan prices have not improved the forest and may have even induced degradation. We conclude by exploring the dynamic interactions between argan markets, local institutions, rural household welfare, and forest conservation and sustainability. Source

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