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International Botany Experts and Scholars Come to HZAU for Academic Visit

From September 26th to 27th morning, Prof. Gan Susheng from Cornell University, Dr. Eugenio Butelli from Britain and Prof. Anna Koltunow from Commonwealth of Australia Science and Industry Research Institute were invited for an academic visit and made the reports themed on New integrative model for controlling leaf and fruit senescence, Metabolic engineering for nutritionally enhanced tomatoes and Understanding apomixes and the synthesis of apomixes in crops respectively. The academic reports were delivered in the Key Laboratory of Horticultural Plant & Biology of Ministry of Education. Prof. Xu Qiang from the College of Horticulture & Forestry chaired the meeting.

Prof. Gan Susheng first introduced the effect of leaf senescence on food quality, nutrition and safety and pointed out the close bearing of leaf senescence on our health and life. Then he shared with the audience the control mechanism for delaying leaf senescence. In his opinion, the obviously delayed leaf senescence phenotype shown in mutants with AtNAP gene knockout and the premature leaf senescence caused by inducible overexpression of AtNAP genes both demonstrate that AtNAP may be reason for senescence of leaves and fruits. Then he further introduced the mode of delaying leaf senescence by AtNAP genes and explained the reason why the level of ABA expression keeps increasing during leaf senescence, given that ABA accelerates stomatal closure and water loses faster in senescing leaves than in tender leaves. His ideas greatly inspired the teachers and students at present.

Dr. Eugenio Butelli began with a discussion of diet and human health and disease prevention. A large number of genetic improvement and metabolic engineering experiments showed that regulating the key genes can significantly enhance the phenolic content in tomatoes, such as anthocyanin, chlorogenic acid, flavonol, resveratrol isoflavones and other products. Eugenio Butelli also explored the nutritional value of these metabolites or their values in human health.

Prof. Anna Koltunow introduced in detail several different types of apomixis in nature, and then compared the similarities and differences between sexual reproduction and asexual reproduction. She pointed out that meiosis and fertilization during gametophyte development are key steps to regulating sexual and asexual reproduction in plants. Anna Koltunow described that the experiments have been successful in locating two alleles related to meiosis in Hieracium, LOA and LOP, which are involved in the process of meiosis and egg cell fertilization. Then the mutant screening was carried out to obtain two plants with deficiency of these two loci and it was found that they lost the ability of apomixis, which has provided a theoretical basis for analyzing the mechanism of regulating apomixis. Afterwards, she introduced the application of OSD1 and Rec8 genes involved in the regulation of apomixis in cowpea and suggested that plant apomixis could be used for the settlement of crop heterosis to increase grain output around the world.


Prof. Gan Susheng, department of Plant Biology, Cornell University. The world’s leading expert on plant senescence mechanisms focuses on the molecular mechanisms regulating leaf chlorosis and senescence in plants. So far, more than 50 academic papers have been published in magazines such as Science, Nature, Biotechnology, Plant, Cell and so on.

Dr. Eugenio Butelli works at the John Innes Institute in England and has been working on genetic improvement and plant molecular biology for a long time, awarded BBSRC 2014 Most Promising Innovator Honor.

Prof. Anna Koltunow, academician in the Australian Academy of Sciences, works at the Commonwealth of Australia Institute of Science and Industry and is engaged in plant reproductive research. Her team works on the seedless mechanism of fruit and identifies a range of genes that control sexual and asexual reproduction in plants.

TranslatorZhu Yang