RNA Interference – A Hallmark of Cellular Function and Gene Manipulation
The discovery of RNA interference (RNAi) and its utilization in downregulation of specific target transcripts have revolutionized gene function analysis and elucidation of many key biochemical/genetic pathways. The insights into gene function, combined with a technology that made silencing of gene function possible using the potent, highly specific and selective RNAi approaches, provided the solution to longstanding complex obstacles in targeted crop improvementsfor agriculture, and disease therapies for medicine. In this introductory chapter, I aim briefly to cover the basics and peculiarities of RNAi and the advances made in understanding the mechanisms, components, function, evolution, application, safety and risk assessment of RNAi, while at the same time highlighting the related chapters of this book.
Part of the book: RNA Interference
Genomics Era for Plants and Crop Species – Advances Made and Needed Tasks Ahead
Historically, unintentional plant selection and subsequent crop domestication, coupled with the need and desire to get more food and feed products, have resulted in the continuous development of plant breeding and genetics efforts. The progress made toward this goal elucidated plant genome compositions and led to decoding the full DNA sequences of plant genomes controlling the entire plant life. Plant genomics aims to develop high-throughput genome-wide-scale technologies, tools, and methodologies to elucidate the basics of genetic traits/characteristics, genetic diversities, and by-product production; to understand the phenotypic development throughout plant ontogenesis with genetic by environmental interactions; to map important loci in the genome; and to accelerate crop improvement. Plant genomics research efforts have continuously increased in the past 30 years due to the availability of cost-effective, high-throughput DNA sequencing platforms that resulted in fully sequenced 100 plant genomes with broad implications for every aspect of plant biology research and application. These technological advances, however, also have generated many unexpected challenges and grand tasks ahead. In this introductory chapter, I aimed briefly to summarize some advances made in plant genomics studies in the past three decades, plant genome sequencing efforts, current state-of-the-art technological developments of genomics era, and some of current grand challenges and needed tasks ahead in the genomics and post-genomics era. I also highlighted the related book chapters contributed by different authors in this book.
Part of the book: Plant Genomics
Bioinformatics: Basics, Development, and Future
Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary scientific field of life sciences. Bioinformatics research and application include the analysis of molecular sequence and genomics data; genome annotation, gene/protein prediction, and expression profiling; molecular folding, modeling, and design; building biological networks; development of databases and data management systems; development of software and analysis tools; bioinformatics services and workflow; mining of biomedical literature and text; and bioinformatics education and training. Astronomical accumulation of genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics data as well as a need for their storage, analysis, annotation, organization, systematization, and integration into biological networks and database systems were the main driving forces for the emergence and development of bioinformatics. Current critical needs for bioinformatics among others highlighted in this chapter, however, are to understand basics and specifics of bioinformatics as well as to prepare new generation scientists and specialists with integrated, interdisciplinary, and multilingual knowledge who can use modern bioinformatics resources powered with sophisticated operating systems, software, and database/networking technologies. In this introductory chapter, I aim to give an overall picture on basics and developments of the bioinformatics field for readers with some future perspectives, highlighting chapters published in this book.
Part of the book: Bioinformatics
Recent Developments in Fiber Genomics of Tetraploid Cotton SpeciesView all chapters
Cotton (Gossypium spp.) produces naturally soft, single-celled trichomes as fiber on the seed coat supplying the main source of natural raw material for the textile industry. It is economically considered as one of the most leading cash crops in the world and evolutionarily very important as a model system for detailed scientific investigations. Cotton production is going through a big transition stage such as losing the market share in competition with the synthetic fibers, high popularity of Bt and herbicide resistance genes in cotton cultivars, and the recent shift of fiber demands to meet the standard fiber quality due to change of textile technologies to produce high superior quality of fibers in the global market. Recently, next-generation sequencing technologies through high-throughput sequencing at greatly reduced costs provided opportunities to sequence the diploid and tetraploid cotton genomes. With the availability of large volume of literatures on molecular mapping, new genomic resources, characterization of cotton genomes, discoveries of many novel genes, regulatory elements including small and microRNAs and new genetic tools such as gene silencing or gene editing technique for genome manipulation, this report attempted to provide the readers a comprehensive review on the recent advances of cotton fiber genomics research.
Part of the book: Past, Present and Future Trends in Cotton Breeding