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What is the reason for this invasive, non-native reed grass to breed in wetlands?

Native and invading species Yoshi. Credit: Dassanayake Lab

The Mississippi River Delta is home to the world’s largest herd of adjacent phragmites, or more commonly known as phragmites. However, the plants, which can grow up to nearly 20 feet high and are an important factor in stabilizing the state’s coast against erosion, are not really native to Louisiana.


There are multiple P. australis genotypes. P. Australis Subspecies, Or ssp. , Americanus is an endemic variant of the United States and Canada. However, Phragmitesaustraliss sp. australis originated in Central Europe, was subsequently introduced in the United States, and is now considered one of the most problematic invasive species in North America.

Invasive species are confusing environmental researchers. australis shows features that go beyond the capabilities of native ssp. American pickers, capable of thriving in wetlands, especially around the Great Lakes, are often much taller and denser, resulting in disruption of their indigenous ecosystems.

In a newly published study Molecular ecology, And recently featured in The Scientist edition, LSU researchers, in collaboration with the University of Tulane and the United States Geological Survey, P.M. We studied the genomic basis of australis and investigated the reasons for the breeding of invading Phragmites australian subspecies in wetlands. Native counterpart. We used samples from sites around the Great Lakes region for this pioneering genomic study and found that the plants are growing throughout North America.

“We are trying to understand the invasive genomic basis of plants,” said Dong-Ha Oh, an assistant professor of research at the Dassanayake Lab in the Department of Life Sciences at LSU and the lead author of the paper.

This project provided the first genomic reference for this globally recognized invading plant. It can be used by plant scientists to study the evolution of invasive traits and scientists to design gene-based strategies for management. Invading plants In conservation biology.

The study also included comparisons of gene expression data, or comparative transcriptomics. When used in a newly constructed genome, genes associated with pathogens and defense responses were continuously highly expressed in invasive subspecies, whereas similar genes in native subspecies had much lower expression levels. Seen in, suggesting that it was induced only in the presence of the pathogen.

“Invading plants have a much higher defense response than native plants,” said Maheshi Dassanayake, an associate professor at the LSU Department of Life Sciences and author of the paper. “For example, if you test what happens after you give pathogens to both of these plants, you’ll see that native plants behave dramatically to respond to attacks, but invading plants. I don’t care because it always has a shield. ”

Chathura Wijesinghege, a graduate student at Dassanayake Lab, contributed to this work by tracing the evolutionary history of grass, which is closely related to Phragmites. Dassanayake was invited to collaborate on an existing project between Keith Clay of Tulane and Kurt Kowalski of the USGS. The project funded a genomic project aimed at designing genetic control means that could distinguish between native and invasive subspecies without involuntarily damaging native flora and fauna. ..

“The USGS recognized the need for management and began analyzing the genetic composition of Phragmites australis as part of a new study,” said Kowalski. “This state-of-the-art research provides a roadmap for further developing species-specific treatments to control the invading Phragmites auspicus and provides insights on how to compare it to other grasses.”

Dassanayake Lab uses LSU’s high-performance computing services to analyze the genomes of invading plants and is unique in genome-wide duplication events that may have provided new genetic material for the divergence of invading and native subspecies. Clarified the history. After identifying the reference genes in the genome, the group examined their expression in native subspecies compared to invasive species.

“”[This invasive reed subspecies] Destroying ecosystems adapted to native reeds, and [the USGS] We want to find a biological solution that avoids the use of common herbicides and labor-intensive mechanical removal, “Oh said. In the meantime, you can lose much of your local biodiversity. Therefore, plant biologists and conservation biologists can work together to find effective and sustainable solutions to control this problem. Since then, irreversible damage has been seen in our native community. ”


Research reveals the mystery of invasive Yoshi


For more information:
Dong-Ha Oh et al, new genomic properties contribute to the invasiveness of Phragmites auspicus (common reeds), Molecular ecology (2021). DOI: 10.1111 / mec.16293

Quote: What is the reason for this invasive, non-native reed grass to breed in wetlands? (April 9, 2022) Obtained April 9, 2022 from https: //phys.org/news/2022-04-oxidant-non-native-reed-grass-wetlands.html

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What is the reason for this invasive, non-native reed grass to breed in wetlands?

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