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    Heterosis has been exploited for decades in different crops due to resulting in dramatic increases in yield, but relatively little molecular evidence on this topic was reported in cotton. The elite cotton hybrid variety 'Huaza Mian H318' (H318) and its parental lines were used to explore the source of its yield heterosis. A four-year investigation of yield-related traits showed that the boll number of H318 showed higher stability than that of its two parents, both in suitable and unsuitable climate years. In addition, the hybrid H318 grew faster and showed higher fresh and dry weights than its parental lines at the seedling stage. Transcriptome analysis of seedlings identified 17,308 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between H318 and its parental lines, and 3490 extremely changed DEGs were screened out for later analysis. Most DEGs (3472/3490) were gathered between H318 and its paternal line (4-5), and only 64 DEGs were found between H318 and its maternal line (B0011), which implied that H318 displays more similar transcriptional patterns to its maternal parent at the seedling stage. GO and KEGG analyses showed that these DEGs were highly enriched in photosynthesis, lipid metabolic, carbohydrate metabolic and oxidation-reduction processes, and the expression level of these DEGs was significantly higher in H318 relative to its parental lines, which implied that photosynthesis, metabolism and stress resistances were enhanced in H318. The enhanced photosynthesis, lipid and carbohydrate metabolic capabilities contribute to the heterosis of H318 at the seedling stage, and establishes a material foundation for subsequent higher boll-setting rates in complex field environments.


    Yuanhao Ding, Rui Zhang, Longfu Zhu, Maojun Wang, Yizan Ma, Daojun Yuan, Nian Liu, Haiyan Hu, Ling Min, Xianlong Zhang. An enhanced photosynthesis and carbohydrate metabolic capability contributes to heterosis of the cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) hybrid 'Huaza Mian H318', as revealed by genome-wide gene expression analysis. BMC genomics. 2021 Apr 17;22(1):277

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    PMID: 33865322

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