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Zhang, Y, Guo X, Dong J.  2016.  Phosphorylation of the Polarity Protein BASL Differentiates Asymmetric Cell Fate through MAPKs and SPCH. Current Biology. 26(21):2957-2965.Website
Zhang, W, Ciclitira P, Messing J.  2014.  PacBio sequencing of gene families - a case study with wheat gluten genes. Gene. 533:541-6. AbstractWebsite
Amino acids in wheat (Triticum aestivum) seeds mainly accumulate in storage proteins called gliadins and glutenins. Gliadins contain alpha/beta-, gamma- and omega-types whereas glutenins contain HMW- and LMW-types. Known gliadin and glutenin sequences were largely determined through cloning and sequencing by capillary electrophoresis. This time-consuming process prevents us to intensively study the variation of each orthologous gene copy among cultivars. The throughput and sequencing length of Pacific Bioscience RS (PacBio) single molecule sequencing platform make it feasible to construct contiguous and non-chimeric RNA sequences. We assembled 424 wheat storage protein transcripts from ten wheat cultivars by using just one single-molecule-real-time cell. The protein genes from wheat cultivar Chinese Spring are comparable to known sequences from NCBI. We demonstrated real-time sequencing of gene families with high-throughput and low-cost. This method can be applied to studies of gene amplification and copy number variation among species and cultivars.
Zhang, W, Messing J.  2016.  PacBio for Haplotyping in Gene Families. Haplotyping. Methods in Molecular Biology 1551. :61-71.
Wu, Y, Messing J.  2014.  Proteome balancing of the maize seed for higher nutritional value. Front Plant Sci. 5:240. AbstractWebsite
Most flowering plant seeds are composed of the embryo and endosperm, which are surrounded by maternal tissue, in particular the seed coat. Whereas the embryo is the dormant progeny, the endosperm is a terminal organ for storage of sugars and amino acids in proteins and carbohydrates, respectively. Produced in maternal leaves during photosynthesis, sugars, and amino acids are transported to developing seeds after flowering, and during germination they nourish early seedlings growth. Maize endosperm usually contains around 10% protein and 70% starch, and their composition ratio is rather stable, because it is strictly regulated through a pre-set genetic program that is woven by networks of many interacting or counteracting genes and pathways. Endosperm protein, however, is of low nutritional value due mainly to the high expression of the alpha-zein gene family, which encodes lysine-free proteins. Reduced levels of these proteins in the opaque 2 (o2) mutant and alpha-zein RNAi (RNA interference) transgenic seed is compensated by an increase of non-zein proteins, leading to the rebalancing of the nitrogen sink and producing more or less constant levels of total proteins in the seed. The same rebalancing of zeins and non-zeins has been observed for maize seeds bred for 30% protein. In contrast to the nitrogen sink, storage of sulfur is controlled through the accumulation of specialized sulfur-rich proteins in maize endosperm. Silencing the synthesis of alpha-zeins through RNAi fails to raise sulfur-rich proteins. Although overexpression of the methionine-rich delta-zein can increase the methionine level in seeds, it occurs at least in part at the expense of the cysteine-rich beta- and gamma-zeins, demonstrating a balance between cysteine and methionine in sulfur storage. Therefore, we propose that the throttle for the flow of sulfur is placed before the synthesis of sulfur amino acids when sulfur is taken up and reduced during photosynthesis.
Wei, F, Coe E, Nelson W, Bharti AK, Engler F, Butler E, Kim H, Goicoechea JL, Chen M, Lee S et al..  2007.  Physical and Genetic Structure of the Maize Genome Reflects Its Complex Evolutionary History. PLoS Genet. 3:e123. AbstractWebsite
Maize (Zea mays L.) is one of the most important cereal crops and a model for the study of genetics, evolution, and domestication. To better understand maize genome organization and to build a framework for genome sequencing, we constructed a sequence-ready fingerprinted contig-based physical map that covers 93.5% of the genome, of which 86.1% is aligned to the genetic map. The fingerprinted contig map contains 25,908 genic markers that enabled us to align nearly 73% of the anchored maize genome to the rice genome. The distribution pattern of expressed sequence tags correlates to that of recombination. In collinear regions, 1 kb in rice corresponds to an average of 3.2 kb in maize, yet maize has a 6-fold genome size expansion. This can be explained by the fact that most rice regions correspond to two regions in maize as a result of its recent polyploid origin. Inversions account for the majority of chromosome structural variations during subsequent maize diploidization. We also find clear evidence of ancient genome duplication predating the divergence of the progenitors of maize and rice. Reconstructing the paleoethnobotany of the maize genome indicates that the progenitors of modern maize contained ten chromosomes.
Vvedenskaya, IO, Goldman SR, Nickels BE.  2015.  Preparation of cDNA libraries for high-throughput RNA sequencing analysis of RNA 5' ends. Methods Mol Biol. 1276:211-228.
Vinyard, DJ, Ananyev GM, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Photosystem II: the reaction center of oxygenic photosynthesis.. Annual review of biochemistry. 82:577-606. Abstract
Photosystem II (PSII) uses light energy to split water into chemical products that power the planet. The stripped protons contribute to a membrane electrochemical potential before combining with the stripped electrons to make chemical bonds and releasing O2 for powering respiratory metabolisms. In this review, we provide an overview of the kinetics and thermodynamics of water oxidation that highlights the conserved performance of PSIIs across species. We discuss recent advances in our understanding of the site of water oxidation based upon the improved (1.9-Å resolution) atomic structure of the Mn4CaO5 water-oxidizing complex (WOC) within cyanobacterial PSII. We combine these insights with recent knowledge gained from studies of the biogenesis and assembly of the WOC (called photoassembly) to arrive at a proposed chemical mechanism for water oxidation.
Vieira, J, Messing J.  1982.  The pUC plasmids, an M13mp7-derived system for insertion mutagenesis and sequencing with synthetic universal primers. Gene. 19:259-68. AbstractWebsite
A series of plasmid vectors containing the multiple cloning site (MCS7) of M13mp7 has been constructed. In one of these vectors a kanamycin-resistance marker has been inserted into the center of the symmetrical MCS7 to yield a restriction-site-mobilizing element (RSM). The drug-resistance marker can be cleaved out of this vector with any of the restriction enzymes that recognize a site of the flanking sequences of the RSM to generate an RSM with either various sticky ends or blunt ends. These fragments can be used for insertion mutagenesis of any target molecule with compatible restriction sites. Insertion mutants are selected by their resistance to kanamycin. When the drug-resistance marker is removed with PstI, a small in-frame insertion can be generated. In addition, two new MCSs having single restriction sites have been formed by altering the symmetrical structure of MCS7. The resulting plasmids pUC8 and pUC9 allow one to clone doubly digested restriction fragments separately with both orientations in respect to the lac promoter. The terminal sequences of any DNA cloned in these plasmids can be characterized using the universal M13 primers.
Tanneti, NS, Landy K, Joyce EF, McKim KS.  2011.  A Pathway for Synapsis Initiation during Zygotene in Drosophila Oocytes. Curr Biol. 21:1852-7. AbstractWebsite
Formation of the synaptonemal complex (SC), or synapsis, between homologs in meiosis is essential for crossing over and chromosome segregation [1-4]. How SC assembly initiates is poorly understood but may have a critical role in ensuring synapsis between homologs and regulating double-strand break (DSB) and crossover formation. We investigated the genetic requirements for synapsis in Drosophila and found that there are three temporally and genetically distinct stages of synapsis initiation. In "early zygotene" oocytes, synapsis is only observed at the centromeres. We also found that nonhomologous centromeres are clustered during this process. In "mid-zygotene" oocytes, SC initiates at several euchromatic sites. The centromeric and first euchromatic SC initiation sites depend on the cohesion protein ORD. In "late zygotene" oocytes, SC initiates at many more sites that depend on the Kleisin-like protein C(2)M. Surprisingly, late zygotene synapsis initiation events are independent of the earlier mid-zygotene events, whereas both mid and late synapsis initiation events depend on the cohesin subunits SMC1 and SMC3. We propose that the enrichment of cohesion proteins at specific sites promotes homolog interactions and the initiation of euchromatic SC assembly independent of DSBs. Furthermore, the early euchromatic SC initiation events at mid-zygotene may be required for DSBs to be repaired as crossovers.
Tang, H, Sun X, Reinberg D, Ebright RH.  1996.  Protein-protein interactions in eukaryotic transcription initiation: structure of the preinitiation complex.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 93(3):1119-24. Abstract
We have used alanine scanning to analyze protein-protein interactions by human TATA-element binding protein (TBP) within the transcription preinitiation complex. The results indicate that TBP interacts with RNA polymerase II and general transcription factors IIA, IIB, and IIF within the functional transcription preinitiation complex and define the determinants of TBP for each of these interactions. The results permit construction of a model for the structure of the preinitiation complex.
Shao, W, Dong J.  2016.  Polarity in plant asymmetric cell division: Division orientation and cell fate differentiation.. Dev. Biol.. doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.07.020
Robinson, DM, Go Y B, Mui M, Gardner G, Zhang Z, Mastrogiovanni D, Garfunkel E, Li J, Greenblatt M, Dismukes CG.  2013.  Photochemical water oxidation by crystalline polymorphs of manganese oxides: structural requirements for catalysis.. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 135(9):3494-501. Abstract
Manganese oxides occur naturally as minerals in at least 30 different crystal structures, providing a rigorous test system to explore the significance of atomic positions on the catalytic efficiency of water oxidation. In this study, we chose to systematically compare eight synthetic oxide structures containing Mn(III) and Mn(IV) only, with particular emphasis on the five known structural polymorphs of MnO2. We have adapted literature synthesis methods to obtain pure polymorphs and validated their homogeneity and crystallinity by powder X-ray diffraction and both transmission and scanning electron microscopies. Measurement of water oxidation rate by oxygen evolution in aqueous solution was conducted with dispersed nanoparticulate manganese oxides and a standard ruthenium dye photo-oxidant system. No Ru was absorbed on the catalyst surface as observed by XPS and EDX. The post reaction atomic structure was completely preserved with no amorphization, as observed by HRTEM. Catalytic activities, normalized to surface area (BET), decrease in the series Mn2O3 > Mn3O4 ≫ λ-MnO2, where the latter is derived from spinel LiMn2O4 following partial Li(+) removal. No catalytic activity is observed from LiMn2O4 and four of the MnO2 polymorphs, in contrast to some literature reports with polydispersed manganese oxides and electro-deposited films. Catalytic activity within the eight examined Mn oxides was found exclusively for (distorted) cubic phases, Mn2O3 (bixbyite), Mn3O4 (hausmannite), and λ-MnO2 (spinel), all containing Mn(III) possessing longer Mn-O bonds between edge-sharing MnO6 octahedra. Electronically degenerate Mn(III) has antibonding electronic configuration e(g)(1) which imparts lattice distortions due to the Jahn-Teller effect that are hypothesized to contribute to structural flexibility important for catalytic turnover in water oxidation at the surface.
Revyakin, A, Ebright RH, Strick TR.  2004.  Promoter unwinding and promoter clearance by RNA polymerase: detection by single-molecule DNA nanomanipulation.. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 101(14):4776-80. Abstract
By monitoring the end-to-end extension of a mechanically stretched, supercoiled, single DNA molecule, we have been able directly to observe the change in extension associated with unwinding of approximately one turn of promoter DNA by RNA polymerase (RNAP). By performing parallel experiments with negatively and positively supercoiled DNA, we have been able to deconvolute the change in extension caused by RNAP-dependent DNA unwinding (with approximately 1-bp resolution) and the change in extension caused by RNAP-dependent DNA compaction (with approximately 5-nm resolution). We have used this approach to quantify the extent of unwinding and compaction, the kinetics of unwinding and compaction, and effects of supercoiling, sequence, ppGpp, and nucleotides. We also have used this approach to detect promoter clearance and promoter recycling by successive RNAP molecules. We find that the rate of formation and the stability of the unwound complex depend profoundly on supercoiling and that supercoiling exerts its effects mechanically (through torque), and not structurally (through the number and position of supercoils). The approach should permit analysis of other nucleic-acid-processing factors that cause changes in DNA twist and/or DNA compaction.
Patton, JR, Padgett RW.  2005.  Pseudouridine modification in Caenorhabditis elegans spliceosomal snRNAs: unique modifications are found in regions involved in snRNA-snRNA interactions. BMC molecular biology. 6:20. AbstractWebsite
BACKGROUND: Pseudouridine (Psi) is an abundant modified nucleoside in RNA and a number of studies have shown that the presence of Psi affects RNA structure and function. The positions of Psi in spliceosomal small nuclear RNAs (snRNAs) have been determined for a number of species but not for the snRNAs from Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans), a popular experimental model system of development. RESULTS: As a prelude to determining the function of or requirement for this modification in snRNAs, we have mapped the positions of Psi in U1, U2, U4, U5, and U6 snRNAs from worms using a specific primer extension method. As with other species, C. elegans U2 snRNA has the greatest number of Psi residues, with nine, located in the 5' half of the U2 snRNA. U5 snRNA has three Psis, in or near the loop of the large stem-loop that dominates the structure of this RNA. U6 and U1 snRNAs each have one Psi, and two Psi residues were found in U4 snRNA. CONCLUSION: The total number of Psis found in the snRNAs of C. elegans is significantly higher than the minimal amount found in yeasts but it is lower than that seen in sequenced vertebrate snRNAs. When the actual sites of modification on C. elegans snRNAs are compared with other sequenced snRNAs most of the positions correspond to modifications found in other species. However, two of the positions modified on C. elegans snRNAs are unique, one at position 28 on U2 snRNA and one at position 62 on U4 snRNA. Both of these modifications are in regions of these snRNAs that interact with U6 snRNA either in the spliceosome or in the U4/U6 small nuclear ribonucleoprotein particle (snRNP) and the presence of Psi may be involved in strengthening the intermolecular association of the snRNAs.
Park, EC, Rongo C.  2016.  The p38 MAP kinase pathway modulates the hypoxia response and glutamate receptor trafficking in aging neurons.. eLife. 5 Abstract
Neurons are sensitive to low oxygen (hypoxia) and employ a conserved pathway to combat its effects. Here, we show that p38 MAP Kinase (MAPK) modulates this hypoxia response pathway in C. elegans. Mutants lacking p38 MAPK components pmk-1 or sek-1 resemble mutants lacking the hypoxia response component and prolyl hydroxylase egl-9, with impaired subcellular localization of Mint orthologue LIN-10, internalization of glutamate receptor GLR-1, and depression of GLR-1-mediated behaviors. Loss of p38 MAPK impairs EGL-9 protein localization in neurons and activates the hypoxia-inducible transcription factor HIF-1, suggesting that p38 MAPK inhibits the hypoxia response pathway through EGL-9. As animals age, p38 MAPK levels decrease, resulting in GLR-1 internalization; this age-dependent downregulation can be prevented through either p38 MAPK overexpression or removal of CDK-5, an antagonizing kinase. Our findings demonstrate that p38 MAPK inhibits the hypoxia response pathway and determines how aging neurons respond to hypoxia through a novel mechanism.
Oh, H, Reddy BVVG, Irvine KD.  2009.  Phosphorylation-independent repression of Yorkie in Fat-Hippo signaling. Developmental biology. 335:188-97. AbstractWebsite
The Fat-Hippo signaling pathway plays an important role in the regulation of normal organ growth during development, and in pathological growth during cancer. Fat-Hippo signaling controls growth through a transcriptional co-activator protein, Yorkie. A Fat-Hippo pathway has been described in which Yorkie is repressed by phosphorylation, mediated directly by the kinase Warts and indirectly by upstream tumor suppressors that promote Warts kinase activity. We present here evidence for an alternate pathway in which Yorkie activity is repressed by direct physical association with three other pathway components: Expanded, Hippo, and Warts. Each of these Yorkie repressors contains one or more PPXY sequence motifs, and associates with Yorkie via binding of these PPXY motifs to WW domains of Yorkie. This direct binding inhibits Yorkie activity independently from effects on Yorkie phosphorylation, and does so both in vivo and in cultured cell assays. These results emphasize the importance of the relative levels of Yorkie and its upstream tumor suppressors to Yorkie regulation, and suggest a dual repression model, in which upstream tumor suppressors can regulate Yorkie activity both by promoting Yorkie phosphorylation and by direct binding.
Meuser, JE, Ananyev GM, Wittig LE, Kosourov S, Ghirardi ML, Seibert M, Dismukes CG, Posewitz MC.  2009.  Phenotypic diversity of hydrogen production in chlorophycean algae reflects distinct anaerobic metabolisms. Journal of Biotechnology. 142:21-30.Website
Messing, J.  2016.  Phage M13 for the treatment of Alzheimer and Parkinson disease.. Gene. 583(2):85-9. Abstract
The studies of microbes have been instrumental in combatting infectious diseases, but they have also led to great insights into basic biological mechanism like DNA replication, transcription, and translation of mRNA. In particular, the studies of bacterial viruses, also called bacteriophage, have been quite useful to study specific cellular processes because of the ease to isolate their DNA, mRNA, and proteins. Here, I review the recent discovery of how properties of the filamentous phage M13 emerge as a novel approach to combat neurodegenerative diseases.
Messing, J.  2009.  The Polyploid Origin of Maize. The Maize Handbook: Domestication, Genetics, and Genome. :221-238.
Kruse, O, Rupprecht J, Mussgnug JR, Dismukes GC, Hankamer B.  2005.  Photosynthesis: a blueprint for solar energy capture and biohydrogen production technologies. Photochemical & Photobiological Sciences. 4:957-970. AbstractWebsite
Solar energy capture, conversion into chemical energy and biopolymers by photoautotrophic organisms, is the basis for almost all life on Earth. A broad range of organisms have developed complex molecular machinery for the efficient conversion of sunlight to chemical energy over the past 3 billion years, which to the present day has not been matched by any man-made technologies. Chlorophyll photochemistry within photosystem II (PSII) drives the water-splitting reaction efficiently at room temperature, in contrast with the thermal dissociation reaction that requires a temperature of ca. 1550 K. The successful elucidation of the high-resolution structure of PSII, and in particular the structure of its Mn4Ca cluster (K. N. Ferreira, T. M. Iverson, K. Maghlaoui, J. Barber and S. Iwata, Science, 2004, 303, 1831-1838, ref. 1) provides an invaluable blueprint for designing solar powered biotechnologies for the future. This knowledge, combined with new molecular genetic tools, fully sequenced genomes, and an ever increasing knowledge base of physiological processes of oxygenic phototrophs has inspired scientists from many countries to develop new biotechnological strategies to produce renewable CO2-neutral energy from sunlight. This review focuses particularly on the potential of use of cyanobacteria and microalgae for biohydrogen production. Specifically this article reviews the predicted size of the global energy market and the constraints of global warming upon it, before detailing the complex set of biochemical pathways that underlie the photosynthetic process and how they could be modified for improved biohydrogen production.
Hu, NT, Peifer MA, Heidecker G, Messing J, Rubenstein I.  1982.  Primary structure of a genomic zein sequence of maize. The EMBO journal. 1:1337-42. AbstractWebsite
The nucleotide sequence of a genomic clone (termed Z4 ) of the zein multigene family was compared to the nucleotide sequence of related cDNA clones of zein mRNAs. A tandem duplication of a 96-bp sequence is found in the genomic clone that is not present in the related cDNA clones. When the duplication is disregarded, the nucleotide sequence homology between Z4 and its related cDNAs was approximately 97%. The nucleotide sequence is also compared to other isolated cDNAs. No introns in the coding region of the zein gene are detected. The first nucleotide of a putative TATA box, TATAAATA , was located 88 nucleotides upstream of the first nucleotide of the first ATG codon which initiated the open reading frame. The first nucleotide of a putative CCAAT box, CAAAAT , appeared 45 nucleotides upstream of the first nucleotide of the zein cDNA clones in the 3' non-coding region also appeared in the genomic sequence at the same locations. The amino acid composition of the polypeptide specified by the Z4 nucleotide sequence is similar to the known composition of zein proteins.
Holder, AA, Taylor P, Magnusen AR, Moffett ET, Meyer K, Hong Y, Ramsdale SE, Gordon M, Stubbs J, Seymour LA et al..  2013.  Preliminary anti-cancer photodynamic therapeutic in vitro studies with mixed-metal binuclear ruthenium(II)-vanadium(IV) complexes.. Dalton transactions (Cambridge, England : 2003). 42(33):11881-99. Abstract
We report the synthesis and characterisation of mixed-metal binuclear ruthenium(II)-vanadium(IV) complexes, which were used as potential photodynamic therapeutic agents for melanoma cell growth inhibition. The novel complexes, [Ru(pbt)2(phen2DTT)](PF6)2·1.5H2O 1 (where phen2DTT = 1,4-bis(1,10-phenanthrolin-5-ylsulfanyl)butane-2,3-diol and pbt = 2-(2'-pyridyl)benzothiazole) and [Ru(pbt)2(tpphz)](PF6)2·3H2O 2 (where tpphz = tetrapyrido[3,2-a:2',3'-c:3'',2''-h:2''',3'''-j]phenazine) were synthesised and characterised. Compound 1 was reacted with [VO(sal-L-tryp)(H2O)] (where sal-L-tryp = N-salicylidene-L-tryptophanate) to produce [Ru(pbt)2(phen2DTT)VO(sal-L-tryp)](PF6)2·5H2O 4; while [VO(sal-L-tryp)(H2O)] was reacted with compound 2 to produce [Ru(pbt)2(tpphz)VO(sal-L-tryp)](PF6)2·6H2O 3. All complexes were characterised by elemental analysis, HRMS, ESI MS, UV-visible absorption, ESR spectroscopy, and cyclic voltammetry, where appropriate. In vitro cell toxicity studies (with the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) colorimetric assay) via dark and light reaction conditions were carried out with sodium diaqua-4,4',4'',4''' tetrasulfophthalocyaninecobaltate(II) (Na4[Co(tspc)(H2O)2]), [VO(sal-L-tryp)(phen)]·H2O, and the chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4. Such studies involved A431, human epidermoid carcinoma cells; human amelanotic malignant melanoma cells; and HFF, non-cancerous human skin fibroblast cells. Both chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4 were found to be more toxic to melanoma cells than to non-cancerous fibroblast cells, and preferentially led to apoptosis of the melanoma cells over non-cancerous skin cells. The anti-cancer property of the chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4 was further enhanced when treated cells were exposed to light, while no such effect was observed on non-cancerous skin fibroblast cells. ESR and (51)V NMR spectroscopic studies were also used to assess the stability of the chloride salts of complexes 3 and 4 in aqueous media at pH 7.19. This research illustrates the potential for using mixed-metal binuclear ruthenium(II)-vanadium(IV) complexes to fight skin cancer.
Goldman, SR, Nair N, Wells C, Nickels BE, Hochschild A.  2015.  The primary σ factor in Escherichia coli can access the transcription elongation complex from solution in vivo. eLife. 4:e10514.
Goettel, W, Messing J.  2013.  Paramutagenicity of a p1 epiallele in maize. Theor Appl Genet. 126:159-77. AbstractWebsite
Complex silencing mechanisms in plants and other kingdoms target transposons, repeat sequences, invasive viral nucleic acids and transgenes, but also endogenous genes and genes involved in paramutation. Paramutation occurs in a heterozygote when a transcriptionally active allele heritably adopts the epigenetic state of a transcriptionally and/or post-transcriptionally repressed allele. P1-rr and its silenced epiallele P1-pr, which encode a Myb-like transcription factor mediating pigmentation in floral organs of Zea mays, differ in their cytosine methylation pattern and chromatin structure at a complex enhancer site. Here, we tested whether P1-pr is able to heritably silence its transcriptionally active P1-rr allele in a heterozygote and whether DNA methylation is associated with the establishment and maintenance of P1-rr silencing. We found that P1-pr participates in paramutation as the repressing allele and P1-rr as the sensitive allele. Silencing of P1-rr is highly variable compared to the inducing P1-pr resulting in a wide range of gene expression. Whereas cytosine methylation at P1-rr is negatively correlated with transcription and pigment levels after segregation of P1-pr, methylation lags behind the establishment of the repressed p1 gene expression. We propose a model in which P1-pr paramutation is triggered by changing epigenetic states of transposons immediately adjacent to a P1-rr enhancer sequence. Considering the vast amount of transposable elements in the maize genome close to regulatory elements of genes, numerous loci could undergo paramutation-induced allele silencing, which could also have a significant impact on breeding agronomically important traits.