Fox Hunting in Wild Apples: Searching for Novel Genes in Malus Sieversii.
Malus sieversii is considered the progenitor of modern apple (Malus pumila) cultivars and to represent a valuable source of genetic diversity. Despite the importance of M. sieversii as a source of disease resistance, stress tolerance, and novel fruit traits, little is known about gene function and diversity in M. sieversii. Notably, a publicly annotated genome sequence for this species is not available. In the current study, the FOX (Full-length cDNA OvereXpressing) gene hunting system was used to construct a library of transgenic lines of Arabidopsis in which each transgenic line overexpresses a full-length gene obtained from a cDNA library of the PI619283 accession of M. sieversii. The cDNA library was constructed from mRNA obtained from bark tissues collected in late fall-early winter, a time at which many abiotic stress-adaptative genes are expressed. Over 4000 apple FOX Arabidopsis lines have been established from the pool of transgenic seeds and cDNA inserts corresponding to various Gene Ontology (GO) categories have been identified. A total of 160 inserts appear to be novel, with no or limited homology to M. pumila, Arabidopsis, or poplar. Over 1300 lines have also been screened for freezing resistance. The constructed library of transgenic lines provides a valuable genetic resource for exploring gene function and diversity in Malus sieversii. Notably, no such library of t-DNA lines currently exists for any Malus species.
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