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    Multi-omics-driven development of alternative crops for natural rubber production
    YANG Ning, YANG Dan-dan, YU Xu-chen, XU Cao
    2023, 22 (4): 959-971.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2023.03.007
    Abstract148)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Natural rubber (NR) is an irreplaceable biopolymer of economic and strategic importance owing to its unique physical and chemical properties.  The Pará rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss.) Müll. Arg.) is currently the exclusive commercial source of NR, and it is primarily grown in plantations restricted to the tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia.  However, current Pará rubber production barely meets the sharply increasing global industrial demand for rubber.  Petroleum-based synthetic rubber (SR) has been used to supplement the shortage of NR but its industrial performance is not comparable to that of NR.  Thus, there is an urgent need to develop new productive rubber crops with broader environmental adaptability.  This review summarizes the current research progress on alternative rubber-producing plants, including horticultural plants (Taraxacum kok-saghyz Rodin and Lactuca L. species), woody plants (Parthenium argentatum A. Gray and Eucommia ulmoides Oliv.), and other plant species with potential for NR production.  With an emphasis on the molecular basis of NR biosynthesis revealed by a multi-omics approach, we highlight new integrative strategies and biotechnologies for exploring the mechanism of NR biosynthesis with a broader scope, which may accelerate the breeding and improvement of new rubber crops. 

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    Potato late blight caused by Phytophthora infestans: From molecular interactions to integrated management strategies
    DONG Suo-meng, ZHOU Shao-qun
    2022, 21 (12): 3456-3466.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.060
    Abstract218)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Over 170 years after the infamous Irish Potato Famine, potato late blight (PLB) caused by Phytophthora infestans remains the single most devastating disease of global potato production, causing up to 10 billion USD in yield loss and management costs.  Through decades of research, growers and agronomists in the field as well as laboratory scientists have made significant progress in understanding the molecular pathogenesis process of this critical pathosystem and effective management strategies to control PLB.  Yet, the need to feed an ever-increasing global population under changing climate demands continued improvement in efficient and sustainable PLB management schemes that can be implemented across a broad economic spectrum.  In this review, we briefly summarize the current understanding of the molecular interaction between P. infestans and its host plants, highlight the current integrated pest management strategy to control PLB on local and continental scales, and discuss the potential of further improvement of sustainable PLB control through genetic enhancement of crop resistance and emerging crop protection technologies.

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    CRISPR-based genetic control strategies for insect pests
    Ying YAN, Roswitha A. AUMANN, Irina HÄCKER, Marc F. SCHETELIG
    2023, 22 (3): 651-668.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.11.003
    Abstract141)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Genetic control strategies such as the sterile insect technique have successfully fought insect pests worldwide.  The CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats) technology, together with high-quality genomic resources obtained in more and more species, greatly facilitates the development of novel genetic control insect strains that can be used in area-wide and species-specific pest control programs.  Here, we review the research progress towards state-of-art CRISPR-based genetic control strategies, including gene drive, sex ratio distortion, CRISPR-engineered genetic sexing strains, and precision-guided sterile insect technique.  These strategies’ working mechanisms, potential resistance development mechanisms, and regulations are illustrated and discussed.  In addition, recent developments such as stacked and conditional systems are introduced.  We envision that the advances in genetic technology will continue to be one of the driving forces for developing the next generation of pest control strategies.  

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    IPM - Biological and integrated management of desert locust
    LI Shuang, FENG Shi-qian, Hidayat ULLAH, TU Xiong-bing, ZHANG Ze-hua
    2022, 21 (12): 3467-3487.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.09.017
    Abstract196)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Locusts have caused periodic disasters in the recorded history of humankind.  Up to now, locust disaster is still the biggest threat to the world’s agricultural production.  The desert locust Schistocerca gregaria is one of the most harmful locusts, which has caused massive food crises, economic losses, and ecological disasters.  The desert locust is a migratory insect pest that occurs year-round in the tropic and subtropical regions.  Under the wind and seasonal alternation, it moves and flies in the African continent and West Asia.  Desert locust damages the stems and leaves of more than 300 plants, including Gramineae, Tribulus terrestris, and Euphorbiaceae.  Locusts cause devastating disasters to local plants, especially field crops, and significantly threaten food security.  To date, voluminous research has been conducted regarding the ecology and management of desert locusts.  This review represents an effort to summarize the basic information on the biology and ecology, distribution, damage, and economic impact of desert locusts, examine the recent developments in integrated locust management, and make recommendations for future research.  

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    Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orthologue is a key regulator of male sex determination in Zeugodacus cucurbitae (Diptera: Tephritidae)

    FAN Zi-zhen, MA Qin, MA Si-ya, CAO Feng-qin, YAN Ri-hui, LIN Xian-wu
    2023, 22 (2): 505-513.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.007
    Abstract258)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    The initiation of sex differentiation in insects is regulated by primary sex determination signals.  In the Medfly Ceratitis capitata and other Tephritids, Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) is the master gene for male sex determination.  However, the primary signal in Zeugodacus cucurbitae (Coquillett), a very destructive Tephritid pest across the world, remains ambiguous.  In this study, we have isolated and characterized the Medfly MoY homolog in Zcucurbitae, ZcMoY.  ZcMOY protein shows high sequence conservation to its homologs in Bactrocera species.  ZcMoY transcription begins and peaks at very early embryonic stages and then becomes undetectable except the testes and heads of day 1 male adults.  Silencing ZcMoY in early embryos by RNAi causes abnormal external genitalia and interior reproductive organs, giving rise to intersexes and feminization of XY individuals.  The expression pattern and knockdown phenotypes of ZcMoY indicate that ZcMoY plays a key role in regulating sex determination of Zcucurbitae males.  Our findings will help the understanding of sex determination in Zcucurbitae and facilitate the development of genetic sexing strains in its biological control.

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    A novel long non-coding RNA, DIR, increases drought tolerance in cassava by modifying stress-related gene expression
    DONG Shi-man, XIAO Liang, LI Zhi-bo, SHEN Jie, YAN Hua-bing, LI Shu-xia, LIAO Wen-bin, PENG Ming
    2022, 21 (9): 2588-2602.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.07.022
    Abstract125)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Cassava is an important tropical cash crop.  Severe drought stresses affect cassava productivity and quality, and cause great economic losses in agricultural production.  Enhancing the drought tolerance of cassava can effectively improve its yield.  Long non-coding RNAs (lncRNAs) are present in a wide variety of eukaryotes.  Recently, increasing evidence has shown that lncRNAs play a critical role in the responses to abiotic stresses.  However, the function of cassava lncRNAs in the drought response remains largely unknown.  In this study, we identified a novel lncRNA, DROUGHT-INDUCED INTERGENIC lncRNA (DIR).  Gene expression analysis showed that DIR was significantly induced by drought stress treatment, but did not respond to abscisic acid (ABA) or jasmonic acid (JA) treatments.  In addition, overexpression of the DIR gene enhanced proline accumulation and drought tolerance in transgenic cassava.  RNA-seq analysis revealed that DIR preferentially affected drought-related genes that were linked to transcription and metabolism.  Moreover, RNA pull-down mass spectrometry analysis showed that DIR interacted with 325 proteins.  A protein–protein interaction (PPI) analysis found a marked enrichment in proteins associated with the mRNA export and protein quality control pathways.  Collectively, these results suggest that DIR and its interacting proteins that regulate mRNA or protein metabolism are involved in mediating the drought stress response.  Thus, regulating DIR expression has potential for improving cassava yield under drought conditions.

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    Evaluation of the early defoliation trait and identification of resistance genes through a comprehensive transcriptome analysis in pears
    SHAN Yan-fei, LI Meng-yan, WANG Run-ze, LI Xiao-gang, LIN Jing, LI Jia-ming, ZHAO Ke-jiao, WU Jun
    2023, 22 (1): 120-138.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.040
    Abstract125)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Early defoliation, which usually occurs during summer in pear trees, is gradually becoming a major problem that poses a serious threat to the pear industry in southern China.  However, there is no system for evaluating the responses of different cultivars to early defoliation, and our knowledge of the potential molecular regulation of the genes underlying this phenomenon is still limited.  In this study, we conducted field investigations of 155 pear accessions to assess their resistance or susceptibility to early defoliation.  A total of 126 accessions were found to be susceptible to early defoliation, and only 29 accessions were resistant.  Among them, 19 resistant accessions belong to the sand pear species (Pyrus pyrifolia).  To identify the resistance genes related to early defoliation, the healthy and diseased samples of two sand pear accessions, namely, the resistant early defoliation accession ‘Whasan’ and the susceptible early defoliation accession ‘Cuiguan’, were used to perform RNA sequencing.  Compared with ‘Cuiguan’, a total of 444 genes were uniquely differentially expressed in ‘Whasan’.  Combined with GO and KEGG enrichment analyses, we found that early defoliation was closely related to the stress response.  Furthermore, a weighted gene co-expression network analysis revealed a high correlation of WRKY and ethylene responsive factor (ERF) transcription factors with early defoliation resistance.  This study provides useful resistant germplasm resources and new insights into potentially essential genes that respond to early defoliation in pears, which may facilitate a better understanding of the resistance mechanism and molecular breeding of resistant pear cultivars

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    OsPPR9 encodes a DYW-type PPR protein that affects editing efficiency of multiple RNA editing sites and is essential for chloroplast development
    CHEN Chang-zhao, WANG Ya-Liang, HE Meng-xing, LI Zhi-wen, SHEN Lan, LI Qing, RE De-yong, HU Jiang, ZHU Li, ZHANG Guang-heng, GAO Zhen-yu, ZENG Da-li, GUO Long-biao, QIAN Qian, ZHANG Qiang
    2023, 22 (4): 972-980.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.026
    Abstract144)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Photosynthesis occurs mainly in chloroplasts, whose development is regulated by proteins encoded by nuclear genes.  Among them, pentapeptide repeat (PPR) proteins participate in organelle RNA editing.  Although there are more than 450 members of the PPR protein family in rice, only a few affect RNA editing in rice chloroplasts.  Gene editing technology has created new rice germplasm and mutants, which could be used for rice breeding and gene function study.  This study evaluated the functions of OsPPR9 in chloroplast RNA editing in rice.  The osppr9 mutants were obtained by CRISPR/Cas9, which showed yellowing leaves and a lethal phenotype, with suppressed expression of genes associated with chloroplast development and accumulation of photosynthetic-related proteins.  In addition, loss of OsPPR9 protein function reduces the editing efficiency of rps8-C182, rpoC2-C4106, rps14-C80, and ndhB-C611 RNA editing sites, which affects chloroplast growth and development in rice.  Our data showed that OsPPR9 is highly expressed in rice leaves and encodes a DYW-PPR protein localized in chloroplasts.  Besides, the OsPPR9 protein was shown to interact with OsMORF2 and OsMORF9.  Together, our findings provide insights into the role of the PPR protein in regulating chloroplast development in rice. 

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    Comprehensive analysis of YABBY gene family in foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and functional characterization of SiDL
    GUO Jie, ZHOU Xu-tao, DAI Ke-li, YUAN Xiang-yang, GUO Ping-yi, SHI Wei-ping, ZHOU Mei-xue
    2022, 21 (10): 2876-2887.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.07.052
    Abstract182)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    YABBY genes are plant-specific transcription factors (TF) that function in plant growth and development.  To investigate the functions of the YABBY genes in plants’ stress tolerance, we analyzed the YABBY genes in foxtail millet (Setaria italica) and investigated their functions on plant growth and responses to different stresses.  Eight YABBY genes were identified on five chromosomes. These genes showed strong relationships with YABBY genes in other monocot species.  Phylogenetical SiYABs were classified into four clades: FIL/YAB3, YAB2, INO, and CRC.  No monocot YABBY member was classified into the YAB5 clade.  Four conserved motifs were identified and motif 1 constituted the YABBY domain, whereas motifs 2 and 3 formed the C2-C2 region. SiYAB genes were highly expressed in reproductive tissues.  Among all the SiYABs, SiDL was selected to be overexpressed in Arabidopsis thaliana to check the functions of the YABBY genes.  Overexpression of SiDL in Arabidopsis thaliana caused delayed flowering, leaf curling, and reduced seed size.  In addition, SiDL acted as a negative regulator in plant response to salt stress. Our study provides information to assist the study of YABBY gene function in S. italica.

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    First record of the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), in Chinese mainland
    CHEN Si-qi, ZHAO Yi, LU Yong-yue, RAN Hao, XU Yi-juan
    2022, 21 (6): 1825-1829.   DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(22)63903-0
    Abstract673)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    In January 2022, we received ant specimens collected from three field colonies from Shantou City, Guangdong Province, China.  They were identified as the little fire ant, Wasmannia auropunctata, through morphological and molecular analyses.  Wasmannia auropunctata is listed as one of the 100 most dangerous invasive species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and has spread from its native range in South America to every continent except Antarctica.  DNA analysis of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) in nine specimens of W. auropunctata found that they had a close genetic relationship with specimens from Argentina.  This study represents the first formal record of the establishment of W. auropunctata outdoor in Chinese mainland.  However, the invasion stage and occurrence degree of W. auropunctata in China are not clear to date.  The implementation of quarantine measures, investigation of the occurrence and distribution, and development of monitoring and control strategies are needed to actively respond to the threat posed by this highly invasive ant.
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    Advances in studies on the physiological and molecular regulation of barley tillering
    Asad RIAZ, Ahmad M. ALQUDAH, Farah KANWAL, Klaus PILLEN, YE Ling-zhen, DAI Fei, ZHANG Guo-ping
    2023, 22 (1): 1-13.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.011
    Abstract138)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    Tillering is a crucial trait closely associated with yield potential and environmental adaptation in cereal crops, regulated by the synergy of endogenous (genetic) and exogenous (environmental) factors.  The physiological and molecular regulation of tillering has been intensively studied in rice and wheat.  However, tillering research on barley is scarce.  This review used the recent advances in bioinformatics to map all known and potential barley tiller development genes with their chromosomal genetic and physical positions.  Many of them were mapped for the first time.  We also discussed tillering regulation at genetic, physiological, and environmental levels.  Moreover, we established a novel link between the genetic control of phytohormones and sugars with tillering.  We provided evidence of how environmental cues and cropping systems help optimize the tiller number.  This comprehensive review enhances the understanding of barley’s physiological and genetic mechanisms controlling tillering and other developmental traits.

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    Integrated pest management programme for cereal blast fungus Magnaporthe oryza
    ZHANG Hai-feng, Tofazzal ISLAM, LIU Wen-de
    2022, 21 (12): 3420-3433.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.056
    Abstract239)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of blast diseases, is a destructive filamentous fungus that infects many plants including most economically important food crops, rice, wheat, pearl millet and finger millet.  Magnaporthe oryzae has numerous pathotypes because of its high host-specificity in the field.  The Oryza pathotype (MoO) of Moryzae is the most devastating pathogen of rice, causing 10–30% yield loss in the world.  On the other hand, the Triticum pathotype (MoT) causes blast disease in wheat, which is now a serious threat to wheat production in some South American countries, Bangladesh and Zambia.  Because of low fungicide efficacy against the blast diseases and lack of availability of resistant varieties, control of rice and wheat blast diseases is difficult.  Therefore, an integrated management programme should be adopted to control these two diseases in the field.  Here, we introduced and summarized the classification, geographical distribution, host range, disease symptoms, biology and ecology, economic impact, and integrated pest management (IPM) programme of both rice and wheat blast diseases.Magnaporthe oryzae, the causal agent of blast diseases, is a destructive filamentous fungus that infects many plants including most economically important food crops, rice, wheat, pearl millet and finger millet.  Magnaporthe oryzae has numerous pathotypes because of its high host-specificity in the field.  The Oryza pathotype (MoO) of Moryzae is the most devastating pathogen of rice, causing 10–30% yield loss in the world.  On the other hand, the Triticum pathotype (MoT) causes blast disease in wheat, which is now a serious threat to wheat production in some South American countries, Bangladesh and Zambia.  Because of low fungicide efficacy against the blast diseases and lack of availability of resistant varieties, control of rice and wheat blast diseases is difficult.  Therefore, an integrated management programme should be adopted to control these two diseases in the field.  Here, we introduced and summarized the classification, geographical distribution, host range, disease symptoms, biology and ecology, economic impact, and integrated pest management (IPM) programme of both rice and wheat blast diseases.

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    Recent progress in maize lethal necrosis disease: from pathogens to integrated pest management
    ZHAN Bin-hui, YANG Xiu-ling, Steven A. LOMMEL, ZHOU Xue-ping
    2022, 21 (12): 3445-3455.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.050
    Abstract146)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    Maize (Zea mays), as a staple food and an important industrial raw material, has been widely cultivated for centuries especially by smallholder farmers. Maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND) is a serious disease infecting maize, which caused devastating damage in the African region recently. MLND is induced by co-infection of maize chlorotic mottle virus and one of several cereal-infecting viruses in the Potyviridae family, with the symptoms ranging from chlorotic mottle to plant death at different infection stages. Integrated pest management for MLND needs strengthening detection, focusing on prevention and effective control. Early detection system of MLND has been successfully established by serological methods, nucleic acid-based methods, next-generation sequencing et al. The practices, such as using certified seeds, sanitary measures, crop rotation, tolerant or resistant varieties etc., have been considered as the effective, economical and eco-friendly way to prevent and control MLND.

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    An integrated pest management program for managing fusarium head blight disease in cereals
    CHEN A-hai, Tofazzal ISLAM, MA Zhong-hua
    2022, 21 (12): 3434-3444.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.053
    Abstract198)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Fusarium head blight (FHB) is a worldwide devastating disease of small grain cereals and Fusarium graminearum species complex (FGSC) is the major pathogen causing the disease.  The epidemics of FHB lead to the reduction of grain yield and economic losses.  Additionally, mycotoxins produced by the FHB pathogens are hazardous to the health of human and livestock.  In this review, we summarize the epidemiology of FHB, and introduce effects of this disease on economy, environment and food safety.  We focus on the integrated management approaches for controlling FHB including agronomic practices, resistant cultivars, chemical control, and biocontrol.  In addition, we also discuss the potential novel management strategies against FHB and mycotoxin.

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    Recent advances in immunocastration in sheep and goat and its animal welfare benefits: A review
    ZENG Fan-mei, DING Yi, Teketay WASSIE, JING Hai-jing, Sohail AHMED, LIU Gui-qiong, JIANG Xun-ping
    2022, 21 (2): 299-309.   DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(21)63670-5
    Abstract141)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    Castration of male animals is a common practice in the meat industry aimed at reducing aggressive behavior, preventing unpleasant flavor, and controlling undesirable breeding.  For many years, mechanical castration and surgical castration have been practiced to sterilize the animals.  However, these castration methods are not humane because of the associated risk of death, pain, and stress.  Recently, immunocastration targeting the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis (HPG) axis has been reported as an animal-friendly approach that circumvents many of the concerns with conventional castration, and suggested by researches as an alternative to surgical castration.  However, there is no compilation of updated information on the use of immunocastration in sheep and goats.  Therefore, this review aims to summarize the developmental process from traditional surgical castration to immunocastration and to screen the process of immune targets.  It also compares the respective advantages and disadvantages of traditional castration technologies and immunocastration, in particular including analyses in the characteristics, features application and welfare benefits of immunocastration in sheep and goats were also analyzed.
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    Factors affecting hydraulic conductivity and methods to measure in plants
    GENG Da-li, LI Lei, YANG Yu-sen, MA Feng-wang, GUAN Qing-mei
    2022, 21 (2): 310-315.   DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63396-2
    Abstract168)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    The plant hydraulic network faces several challenges under drought stress.  Hydraulic conductivity is one of the major indicators of the hydraulic network’s response to drought stress.  Here, we review our current understanding of the factors directly affecting hydraulic conductivity and the methods used to measure it.   
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    Dynamics of maize grain drying in the high latitude region of Northeast China
    CHU Zhen-dong, MING Bo LI Lu-lu, XUE Jun, ZHANG Wan-xu, HOU Liang-yu, XIE Rui-zhi, HOU Peng, WANG Ke-ru, LI Shao-kun
    2022, 21 (2): 365-374.   DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63434-7
    Abstract81)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    A high grain moisture content at harvest has been an important problem in the high latitude region of Northeast China, and it is closely related to the genotypes of varieties, local meteorological factors and planting management.  However, delayed harvest at a low temperature could not effectively reduce the grain moisture content.  In this study, we continuously observed the grain drying during the late stage of different maturing types of maize varieties in Daqing, Heilongjiang Province, China in 2016 and 2017.  A two-segment linear model was used to analyze the different stages of the drying processes: 1) Two-segment linear model fitting can divide the grain drying process of all varieties into two separate linear drying processes with different slopes.  2) During the rapid drying stage, the drying was faster at a higher temperature.  The rate of slow drying was influenced by air vapor pressure.  3) The moisture content and meteorological factors when the drying rate turns from one stage into the other were not consistent between varieties and years.  After entering the frost period, temperatures below 0°C will significantly reduce the rate of grain drying.  4) Due to the short growth period of early-maturing varieties, the drying time was prolonged, and the grain moisture content was lower than that of the mid-late maturing varieties.  Local meteorological conditions do not allow the drying of mid-late maturing varieties to achieve a lower moisture content.  When the temperature falls below 0°C, the drying rate of grain decreases markedly.  Therefore, one feasible way to solve the problem of high moisture content is to replace the early-maturing varieties and implement the corresponding cultivation techniques.
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    Recent advances in nutrient requirements of meat-type sheep in China: A review
    MA Tao, DENG Kai-dong, TU Yan, ZHANG Nai-feng, ZHAO Qi-nan, LI Chang-qing, JIN Hai, DIAO Qi-yu
    2022, 21 (1): 1-14.   DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(21)63625-0
    Abstract140)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    China has the world’s largest sheep flock and the largest producer of sheep meat by far.  However, the nutrient requirements have not been systemically studied and there is a lack of knowledge of nutrient requirement for meat-type sheep in China.  Since 2008, the nutrient requirements of meat-type sheep in China has been systematically investigated.  In this review, we introduced the history of studies of nutrient requirements of meat-type sheep in China, summarized the recent advances in nutrient requirements of meat-type sheep, and highlighted the future directions of researches on nutrient requirements of meat-type sheep in China.
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    Using transcriptome Shannon entropy to evaluate the off-target effects and safety of insecticidal siRNAs
    MA Wei-hua, WU Tong, ZHANG Zan, LI Hang, SITU Gong-ming, YIN Chuan-lin, YE Xin-hai, CHEN Meng-yao, ZHAO Xian-xin, HE Kang, LI Fei
    2022, 21 (1): 170-177.   DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(20)63394-9
    Abstract74)      PDF in ScienceDirect      
    A recent breakthrough in agricultural biotechnology is the introduction of RNAi-mediated strategies in pest control.  However, the off-target effects of RNAi pest control are still not fully understood.  Here, we studied the off-target effects of two insecticidal siRNAs in both target and non-target insects.  The results revealed that off-target effects of insecticidal siRNAs occur widely in both target and non-target insects.  We classified the expression-changed genes according to their homology to the siRNA-targeted gene, related KEGG pathways with the siRNA-targeted gene and continuous matches with siRNAs.  Surprisingly, the unintended significant changes in gene expression levels did not strictly match with the number of contiguous nucleotides in the siRNAs.  As expected, the expression of small portions of the homologous and KEGG-related genes were significantly changed.  We calculated the Shannon entropy of the transcriptome profile of the insects after injecting them with insecticidal siRNAs.  Though hundreds of genes were affected in their expression levels post siRNA-treatment, the Shannon entropy of the transcriptome remained unchanged, suggesting that the transcriptome expression was balanced.  Our results provide evidence that siRNAs cross-reacted with individual genes in non-target species, but did not have significant effects on the integrity of the transcriptome profiles in either target or non-target species on a genomic scale.  The metric we proposed can be used to estimate the off-target effects of insecticidal siRNAs, which might be useful for evaluating the safety of RNAi in pest control.  
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    Dynamic change of fungal community in the gastrointestinal tract of growing lambs
    YIN Xue-jiao, JI Shou-kun, DUAN Chun-hui, TIAN Pei-zhi, JU Si-si, YAN Hui, ZHANG Ying-jie, LIU Yue-qin
    2022, 21 (11): 3314-3328.   DOI: 10.1016/j.jia.2022.08.092
    Abstract133)      PDF in ScienceDirect      

    Although fungal communities in the gastrointestinal tract have a significant role in animal health and performance, their dynamics within the tract are not well known.  Thus, this study investigated fungal community dynamics in the rumen and rectum of lambs from birth to 4 mon of age by using IT1S rDNA sequencing technology together with the RandomForest approach to determine age-related changes in the fungal ecology.  The results indicated that gastrointestinal fungal community composition, diversity, and abundance altered (P<0.05) with the increasing age of the lambs.  Two phyla, Ascomycota and Basidiomycota, dominated the samples.  Similarity within age groups of the rumen fungi increased sharply after 45 days of age, while the similarity increased (P<0.05) significantly after 60 days of age in the rectum.  The age-related genera, Acremonium, Microascus, Valsonectria, Myrmecridium, Scopulariopsis, Myrothecium, Saccharomyces, and Stephanonectria, were presented in both ruminal and rectal communities, and their changes in relative abundance were consistent at both sites.  The principal coordinates analysis showed significant differences (P<0.05) between the fungal communities in the rumen and rectum.  Our findings demonstrate that both the age of lambs and the gastrointestinal tract region can affect the composition of these fungal communities, and this provides new insight and directions for future studies in this research area.

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