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Guo Z.,Syngenta Biotechnology
TAG. Theoretical and applied genetics. Theoretische und angewandte Genetik | Year: 2014

Impacts of population structure on the evaluation of genomic heritability and prediction were investigated and quantified using high-density markers in diverse panels in rice and maize. Population structure is an important factor affecting estimation of genomic heritability and assessment of genomic prediction in stratified populations. In this study, our first objective was to assess effects of population structure on estimations of genomic heritability using the diversity panels in rice and maize. Results indicate population structure explained 33 and 7.5% of genomic heritability for rice and maize, respectively, depending on traits, with the remaining heritability explained by within-subpopulation variation. Estimates of within-subpopulation heritability were higher than that derived from quantitative trait loci identified in genome-wide association studies, suggesting 65% improvement in genetic gains. The second objective was to evaluate effects of population structure on genomic prediction using cross-validation experiments. When population structure exists in both training and validation sets, correcting for population structure led to a significant decrease in accuracy with genomic prediction. In contrast, when prediction was limited to a specific subpopulation, population structure showed little effect on accuracy and within-subpopulation genetic variance dominated predictions. Finally, effects of genomic heritability on genomic prediction were investigated. Accuracies with genomic prediction increased with genomic heritability in both training and validation sets, with the former showing a slightly greater impact. In summary, our results suggest that the population structure contribution to genomic prediction varies based on prediction strategies, and is also affected by the genetic architectures of traits and populations. In practical breeding, these conclusions may be helpful to better understand and utilize the different genetic resources in genomic prediction.

Guo Z.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Tucker D.M.,Syngenta | Lu J.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Kishore V.,Syngenta | Gay G.,Syngenta Biotechnology
Theoretical and Applied Genetics | Year: 2012

In comparison to conventional marker-assisted selection (MAS), which utilizes only a subset of genetic markers associated with a trait to predict breeding values (BVs), genome-wide selection (GWS) improves prediction accuracies by incorporating all markers into a model simultaneously. This strategy avoids risks of missing quantitative trait loci (QTL) with small effects. Here, we evaluated the accuracy of prediction for three corn flowering traits days to silking, days to anthesis, and anthesissilking interval with GWS based on cross-validation experiments using a large data set of 25 nested association mapping populations in maize (Zea mays). We found that GWS via ridge regression-best linear unbiased prediction (RR-BLUP) gave significantly higher predictions compared to MAS utilizing composite interval mapping (CIM). The CIM method may be selected over multiple linear regression to decrease over-estimations of the efficiency of GWS over a MAS strategy. The RR-BLUP method was the preferred method for estimating marker effects in GWS with prediction accuracies comparable to or greater than BayesA and BayesB. The accuracy with RR-BLUP increased with training sample proportion, marker density, and heritability until it reached a plateau. In general, gains in accuracy with RR-BLUP over CIM increased with decreases of these factors. Compared to training sample proportion, the accuracy of prediction with RR-BLUP was relatively insensitive to marker density. © Springer-Verlag 2011.

Que Q.,Syngenta Biotechnology
GM crops | Year: 2010

In recent years, there has been a rapid increase in the planting of transgenic crops with stacked traits. Most of these products have been formed by conventional breeding, i.e. the crossing of transgenic plant (event) containing individual transgenes with other event(s) containing single or double transgenic traits. Many biotech companies are developing stacked trait products with increasing numbers of insect and herbicide tolerance genes for controlling a broad range of insect pests and weeds. There has also been an increase in development of technologies for molecular stacking of multiple traits in a single transgene locus. In this review we look at the status of stacked trait products, crop trait stacking technologies and the technical challenges we are facing. We also review recent progress in developing technology for assembling large transgene arrays in vitro (molecular stacks), their delivery to crop plants and issues they pose for transgene expression.

Kim S.Y.,University of California at Berkeley | Zhu T.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Renee Sung Z.,University of California at Berkeley
Plant Physiology | Year: 2010

The EMBRYONIC FLOWER (EMF) genes are required to maintain vegetative development in Arabidopsis (Arabidopsis thaliana). Loss-of-function emf mutants skip the vegetative phase, flower upon germination, and display pleiotropic phenotypes. EMF1 encodes a putative transcriptional regulator, while EMF2 encodes a Polycomb group (PcG) protein. PcG proteins form protein complexes that maintain gene silencing via histone modification. They are known to function as master regulators repressing multiple gene programs. Both EMF1 and EMF2 participate in PcG-mediated silencing of the flower homeotic genes AGAMOUS, PISTILLATA, and APETALA3. Full-genome expression pattern analysis of emf mutants showed that both EMF proteins regulate additional gene programs, including photosynthesis, seed development, hormone, stress, and cold signaling. Chromatin immunoprecipitation was carried out to investigate whether EMF regulates these genes directly. It was determined that EMF1 and EMF2 interact with genes encoding the transcription factors ABSCISIC ACID INSENSITIVE3, LONG VEGETATIVE PHASE1, and FLOWERING LOCUS C, which control seed development, stress and cold signaling, and flowering, respectively. Our results suggest that the two EMFs repress the regulatory genes of individual gene programs to effectively silence the genetic pathways necessary for vegetative development and stress response. A model of the regulatory network mediated by EMF is proposed. © 2009 American Society of Plant Biologists.

Kelliher T.,Stanford University | Kelliher T.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Walbot V.,Stanford University
Plant Journal | Year: 2014

In flowering plants, anthers are the site of de novo germinal cell specification, male meiosis, and pollen development. Atypically, anthers lack a meristem. Instead, both germinal and somatic cell types differentiate from floral stem cells packed into anther lobes. To better understand anther cell fate specification and to provide a resource for the reproductive biology community, we isolated cohorts of germinal and somatic initials from maize anthers within 36 h of fate acquisition, identifying 815 specific and 1714 significantly enriched germinal transcripts, plus 2439 specific and 2112 significantly enriched somatic transcripts. To clarify transcripts involved in cell differentiation, we contrasted these profiles to anther primordia prior to fate specification and to msca1 anthers arrested in the first step of fate specification and hence lacking normal cell types. The refined cell-specific profiles demonstrated that both germinal and somatic cell populations differentiate quickly and express unique transcription factor sets; a subset of transcript localizations was validated by in situ hybridization. Surprisingly, germinal initials starting 5 days of mitotic divisions were enriched significantly in >100 transcripts classified in meiotic processes that included recombination and synapsis, along with gene sets involved in RNA metabolism, redox homeostasis, and cytoplasmic ATP generation. Enrichment of meiotic-specific genes in germinal initials challenges current dogma that the mitotic to meiotic transition occurs later in development during pre-meiotic S phase. Expression of cytoplasmic energy generation genes suggests that male germinal cells accommodate hypoxia by diverting carbon away from mitochondrial respiration into alternative pathways that avoid producing reactive oxygen species (ROS). © 2013 The Authors The Plant Journal © 2013 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

Raybould A.,Hill International | Kilby P.,Hill International | Graser G.,Syngenta Biotechnology
Transgenic Research | Year: 2013

Most commercial transgenic crops are genetically engineered to produce new proteins. Studies to assess the risks to human and animal health, and to the environment, from the use of these crops require grams of the transgenic proteins. It is often extremely difficult to produce sufficient purified transgenic protein from the crop. Nevertheless, ample protein of acceptable purity may be produced by over-expressing the protein in microbes such as Escherichia coli. When using microbial proteins in a study for risk assessment, it is essential that their suitability as surrogates for the plant-produced transgenic proteins is established; that is, the proteins are equivalent for the purposes of the study. Equivalence does not imply that the plant and microbial proteins are identical, but that the microbial protein is sufficiently similar biochemically and functionally to the plant protein such that studies using the microbial protein provide reliable information for risk assessment of the transgenic crop. Equivalence is a judgement based on a weight of evidence from comparisons of relevant properties of the microbial and plant proteins, including activity, molecular weight, amino acid sequence, glycosylation and immuno-reactivity. We describe a typical set of methods used to compare proteins in regulatory risk assessments for transgenic crops, and discuss how risk assessors may use comparisons of proteins to judge equivalence. © 2012 The Author(s).

Manavalan L.P.,University of Missouri | Chen X.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Clarke J.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Salmeron J.,Syngenta Biotechnology | Nguyen H.T.,University of Missouri
Journal of Experimental Botany | Year: 2012

About one-third of the world's rice area is in rain-fed lowlands and most are prone to water shortage. The identification of genes imparting tolerance to drought in the model cereal plant, rice, is an attractive strategy to engineer improved drought tolerance not only rice but other cereals as well. It is demonstrated that RNAi-mediated disruption of a rice farnesyltransferase/ squalene synthase (SQS) by maize squalene synthase improves drought tolerance at both the vegetative and reproductive stages. Twenty-day-old seedlings of wild type (Nipponbare) and seven independent events of transgenic RNAi lines showed no difference in morphology. When subjected to water stress for a period of 32 d under growth chamber conditions, transgenic positives showed delayed wilting, conserved more soil water, and improved recovery. When five independent events along with wild-type plants were subjected to drought at the reproductive stage under greenhouse conditions, the transgenic plants lost water more slowly compared with the wild type, through reduced stomatal conductance and the retention of high leaf relative water content (RWC). After 28 d of slow progressive soil drying, transgenic plants recovered better and flowered earlier than wild-type plants. The yield of water-stressed transgenic positive plants ranged from 14-39% higher than wild-type plants. When grown in plates with Yoshida's nutrient solution with 1.2% agar, transgenic positives from three independent events showed increased root length and an enhanced number of lateral roots. The RNAi-mediated inactivation produced reduced stomatal conductance and subsequent drought tolerance. © 2011 The Author(s).

Raybould A.,Hill International | Vlachos D.,Syngenta Biotechnology
Transgenic Research | Year: 2011

Transgenic crops producing insecticidal proteins from Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) provide economic, environmental and health benefits by maintaining or increasing crop yields with fewer applications of insecticide. To sustain these benefits, it is important to delay the evolution of insect resistance to the proteins, and to ensure that the proteins do not harm non-target organisms, particularly those that may control secondary pests that would otherwise flourish because of reduced insecticide applications. Vip3A is a Bt vegetative insecticidal protein that is active against lepidopterous pests. It has a different mode of action from other proteins for control of Lepidoptera in current Bt crops, and when combined with these proteins, it should help to delay the evolution of pest resistance to Bt crops. This paper presents data on the effects of Vip3A on non-target organisms, and an ecological risk assessment of MIR162 maize, which expresses Vip3Aa20. Laboratory studies indicate few adverse effects of Vip3A to non-target organisms: 11 of 12 species tested showed no adverse effects when exposed to high concentrations of Vip3A relative to estimated exposures resulting from cultivation of MIR162 maize. Daphnia magna exposed to Vip3Aa20 were unaffected in terms of survival or fecundity, but grew slightly more slowly than unexposed controls. The data indicate that cultivation of MIR162 maize poses negligible risk to non-target organisms, and that crops producing Vip3A are unlikely to adversely affect biological control organisms such that benefits from reduced insecticide applications are lost. © 2010 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Syngenta Biotechnology | Date: 2011-09-08

Compositions and methods are provided for treating lignocellulosic material with a xylanase enzyme having xylanase activity. The enzyme is stable and active at increased pHs and temperatures. The present invention therefore provides methods for hydrolyzing lignocellulosic material, especially cellulose and hemicellulose, which are major components of the cell wall of non-woody and woody plants. The methods for hydrolyzing cellulose and hemicellulose can be used on any plant, wood or wood product, wood waste, paper pulp, paper product or paper waste or byproduct.

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