Research Article

Assessment of genetic diversity and variation of Robinia pseudoacacia seeds induced by short-term spaceflight based on two molecular marker systems and morphological traits

Published: December 17, 2012
Genet. Mol. Res. 11 (4) : 4268-4277 DOI: 10.4238/2012.December.17.2

Abstract

The black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a forest legume that is highly valued as a honey plant and for its wood. We explored the effect of short-term spaceflight on development of R. pseudoacacia seedlings derived from seeds that endured a 15-day flight; the genetic diversity and variation of plants sampled from space-mutagenized seeds were compared to plants from parallel ground-based control seeds using molecular markers and morphological traits. In the morphology analysis, the space-mutagenized group had apparent variation compared with the control group in morphological traits, including plant height, basal diameter, number of branches, branch stipular thorn length, branch stipular thorn middle width, leaflet vertex angle, and tippy leaf vertex angle. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) and sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) molecular marker analyses showed a slightly higher levels of genetic diversity in the space-mutagenized group compared to the control group. In the SRAP analysis, the space-mutagenized group had 115 polymorphic bands vs 98 in the controls; 91.27% polymorphic loci vs 77.78% in the controls; 1.9127 ± 0.2834 alleles vs 1.7778 ± 0.4174 in the controls; Nei’s genetic diversity (h) was 0.2930 ± 0.1631 vs 0.2688 ± 0.1862 in the controls, and the Shannon’s information index (I) was 0.4452 ± 0.2177 vs 0.4031 ± 0.2596 in the controls. The number of alleles was significantly higher in the space-mutagenized group. In the SSR analysis, the space-mutagenized group also had more polymorphic bands (51 vs 46), a greater percentage of polymorphic loci (89.47% vs 80.70%); h was also higher (0.2534 ± 0.1533 vs 0.2240 ± 0.1743), as was I (0.3980 ± 0.2069 vs 0.3501 ± 0.2412). These results demonstrated that the range of genetic variation in the populations of R. pseudoacacia increased after spaceflight. It also suggested that the SSR and SRAP markers are effective markers for studying mutations and genetic diversity in R. pseudoacacia. The data provide valuable molecular evidence for the effects of the space environment on R. pseudoacacia and may contribute to future space-breeding programs involving forest trees.

The black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) is a forest legume that is highly valued as a honey plant and for its wood. We explored the effect of short-term spaceflight on development of R. pseudoacacia seedlings derived from seeds that endured a 15-day flight; the genetic diversity and variation of plants sampled from space-mutagenized seeds were compared to plants from parallel ground-based control seeds using molecular markers and morphological traits. In the morphology analysis, the space-mutagenized group had apparent variation compared with the control group in morphological traits, including plant height, basal diameter, number of branches, branch stipular thorn length, branch stipular thorn middle width, leaflet vertex angle, and tippy leaf vertex angle. Simple sequence repeat (SSR) and sequence-related amplified polymorphism (SRAP) molecular marker analyses showed a slightly higher levels of genetic diversity in the space-mutagenized group compared to the control group. In the SRAP analysis, the space-mutagenized group had 115 polymorphic bands vs 98 in the controls; 91.27% polymorphic loci vs 77.78% in the controls; 1.9127 ± 0.2834 alleles vs 1.7778 ± 0.4174 in the controls; Nei’s genetic diversity (h) was 0.2930 ± 0.1631 vs 0.2688 ± 0.1862 in the controls, and the Shannon’s information index (I) was 0.4452 ± 0.2177 vs 0.4031 ± 0.2596 in the controls. The number of alleles was significantly higher in the space-mutagenized group. In the SSR analysis, the space-mutagenized group also had more polymorphic bands (51 vs 46), a greater percentage of polymorphic loci (89.47% vs 80.70%); h was also higher (0.2534 ± 0.1533 vs 0.2240 ± 0.1743), as was I (0.3980 ± 0.2069 vs 0.3501 ± 0.2412). These results demonstrated that the range of genetic variation in the populations of R. pseudoacacia increased after spaceflight. It also suggested that the SSR and SRAP markers are effective markers for studying mutations and genetic diversity in R. pseudoacacia. The data provide valuable molecular evidence for the effects of the space environment on R. pseudoacacia and may contribute to future space-breeding programs involving forest trees.