Dario Isidro Ojeda Alayon

Research Scientist

(+47) 476 33 227
dario.alayon@nibio.no

Place
Ås H8

Visiting address
Høgskoleveien 8, 1433 Ås

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Abstract

With the ongoing climate change, African rainforests are expected to experience severe drought events in the future. In Africa, the tropical genus Erythrophleum (Fabaceae) includes two forest sister timber tree species displaying contrasting geographical distributions. Erythrophleum ivorense is adapted to wet evergreen Guineo-Congolian forests, whereas E. suaveolens occurs in a wider range of climates, being found in moist dense forests but also in gallery forests under a relatively drier climate. This geographical distribution pattern suggests that the two species might cope differently to drought at the genomic level. Yet, the genetic basis of tolerance response to drought stress in both species is still uncharacterized. To bridge this gap, we performed an RNA-seq approach on seedlings from each species to monitor their transcriptional responses at different levels of drought stress (0, 2 and 6 weeks after stopping watering seedlings). Monitoring of wilting symptoms revealed that E. suaveolens displayed an earlier phenotypic response to drought stress than E. ivorense. At the transcriptomic level, results revealed 2020 (1204 down-regulated/816 up-regulated) and 1495 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in response to drought stress from a total of 67,432 and 66,605 contigs assembled in E. ivorense and E. suaveolens, respectively. After identifying 30,374 orthologs between species, we found that only 7 of them were DEGs shared between species, while 587 and 458 were differentially expressed only in E. ivorense or E. suaveolens, respectively. GO and KEGG enrichment analysis revealed that the two species differ in terms of significantly regulated pathways as well as the number and expression profile of DEGs (Up/Down) associated with each pathway in the two stress stages. Our results suggested that the two studied species react differently to drought. E. suaveolens seems displaying a prompt response to drought at its early stage strengthened by the down-regulation of many DEGs encoding for signaling and metabolism-related pathways. A considerable up-regulation of these pathways was also found in E. ivorense at the late stage of drought, suggesting this species may be a late responder. Overall, our data may serve as basis for further understanding the genetic control of drought tolerance in tropical trees and favor the selection of crucial genes for genetically enhancing drought resistance.

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Abstract

Early detection provides the best way to prevent introduction and establishment of alien plant pathogens. Amplification of DNA by PCR has revolutionized the detection and monitoring of plant pathogens. Most of those assays rely on the amplification of a fraction of the genome of the targeted species. With the availability of whole genomes for a growing number of fungi and oomycetes it is becoming possible to compare genomes and discover regions that are unique to a target organism. This study has applied this pipeline to develop a set of hierarchical TaqMan real‐time PCR detection assays targeting DNA of all four Phytophthora ramorum lineages, and a closely related species, P. lateralis. Nine assays were generated: three targeting DNA of all P. ramorum lineages, one for each lineage of P. ramorum, one for P. lateralis and one targeting DNA of P. ramorum and P. lateralis. These assays were very accurate and sensitive, ranging from 98.7% to 100% detection accuracy of 2–10 gene copies of the targeted taxa from pure cultures or inoculated tissues. This level of sensitivity is within the lowest theoretical limit of detection of DNA. It is expected that these assays will be useful because of their high level of specificity and the ease with which they can be multiplexed because of the inherent flexibility in primer and probe design afforded by their lack of conservation in non‐target species.

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Abstract

Compared to angiosperms, gymnosperms lag behind in the availability of assembled and annotated genomes. Most genomic analyses in gymnosperms, especially conifer tree species, rely on the use of de novo assembled transcriptomes. However, the level of allelic redundancy and transcript fragmentation in these assembled transcriptomes, and their effect on downstream applications have not been fully investigated. Here, we assessed three assembly strategies for short-reads data, including the utility of haploid megagametophyte tissue during de novo assembly as single-allele guides, for six individuals and five different tissues in Pinus sylvestris. We then contrasted haploid and diploid tissue genotype calls obtained from the assembled transcriptomes to evaluate the extent of paralog mapping. The use of the haploid tissue during assembly increased its completeness without reducing the number of assembled transcripts. Our results suggest that current strategies that rely on available genomic resources as guidance to minimize allelic redundancy are less effective than the application of strategies that cluster redundant assembled transcripts. The strategy yielding the lowest levels of allelic redundancy among the assembled transcriptomes assessed here was the generation of SuperTranscripts with Lace followed by CD-HIT clustering. However, we still observed some levels of heterozygosity (multiple gene fragments per transcript reflecting allelic redundancy) in this assembled transcriptome on the haploid tissue, indicating that further filtering is required before using these assemblies for downstream applications. We discuss the influence of allelic redundancy when these reference transcriptomes are used to select regions for probe design of exome capture baits and for estimation of population genetic diversity.