Since emerging in Brazil in 1985, wheat blast has spread throughout South America and recently appeared in Bangladesh and Zambia. Here we show that two wheat resistance genes, Rwt3 and Rwt4, acting as host-specificity barriers against non-Triticum blast pathotypes encode a nucleotide-binding leucine-rich repeat immune receptor and a tandem kinase, respectively. Molecular isolation of these genes will enable study of the molecular interaction between pathogen effector and host resistance genes.

Genome-scale data have significantly increased the number of informative characters for phylogenetic analyses and recent studies have also revealed widespread phylogenomic discordance in many plant lineages. Aralia sect. Aralia is a small plant lineage (14 spp.) of the ginseng family Araliaceae with a disjunct distribution between eastern Asia (11 spp.) and North America (3 spp.). We herein employ sequences of hundreds of nuclear loci and the complete plastomes using targeted sequence capture and genome skimming to reconstruct the phylogenetic and biogeographic history of this section. We detected substantial conflicts among nuclear genes, yet different analytical strategies generated largely congruent topologies from the nuclear data. Significant cytonuclear discordance was detected, especially concerning the positions of the three North American species. The phylogenomic results support two intercontinental disjunctions: (1) Aralia californica of western North America is sister to the eastern Asian clade consisting of A. cordata and A. continentalis in the nuclear tree, and (2) the eastern North American A. racemosa forms a clade with A. bicrenata from southwestern North America, and the North American A. racemosa – A. bicrenata clade is then sister to the eastern Asian clade consisting of A. glabra (Japan), A. fargesii (C China), and A. apioides and A. atropurpurea (the Hengduan Mountains). Aralia cordata is supported to be disjunctly distributed in Japan, Taiwan, the Ulleung island of Korea, and in Central, Southwest and South China, and Aralia continentalis is redefined with a narrower distribution in Northeast China, eastern Russia and peninsular Korea.

‘Staggering disease’ is a neurological disease entity considered a threat to European domestic cats (Felis catus) for almost five decades. However, its aetiology has remained obscure. Rustrela virus (RusV), a relative of rubella virus, has recently been shown to be associated with encephalitis in a broad range of mammalian hosts. Here, we report the detection of RusV RNA and antigen by metagenomic sequencing, RT-qPCR, in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry in brain tissues of 27 out of 29 cats with non-suppurative meningoencephalomyelitis and clinical signs compatible with’staggering disease’ from Sweden, Austria, and Germany, but not in non-affected control cats. Screening of possible reservoir hosts in Sweden revealed RusV infection in wood mice (Apodemus sylvaticus). Our work indicates that RusV is the long-sought cause of feline ‘staggering disease’. Given its reported broad host spectrum and considerable geographic range, RusV may be the aetiological agent of neuropathologies in further mammals, possibly even including humans.

Centromeres in the legume genera Pisum and Lathyrus exhibit unique morphological characteristics, including extended primary constrictions and multiple separate domains of centromeric chromatin. These so-called metapolycentromeres resemble an intermediate form between monocentric and holocentric types, and therefore provide a great opportunity for studying the transitions between different types of centromere organizations. However, because of the exceedingly large and highly repetitive nature of metapolycentromeres, highly contiguous assemblies needed for these studies are lacking. Here, we report on the assembly and analysis of a 177.6 Mb region of pea ( Pisum sativum ) chromosome 6, including the 81.6 Mb centromere region (CEN6) and adjacent chromosome arms. Genes, DNA methylation profiles, and most of the repeats were uniformly distributed within the centromere, and their densities in CEN6 and chromosome arms were similar. The exception was an accumulation of satellite DNA in CEN6, where it formed multiple arrays up to 2 Mb in length. Centromeric chromatin, characterized by the presence of the CENH3 protein, was predominantly associated with arrays of three different satellite repeats; however, five other satellites present in CEN6 lacked CENH3. The presence of CENH3 chromatin was found to determine the spatial distribution of the respective satellites during the cell cycle. Finally, oligo-FISH painting experiments, performed using probes specifically designed to label the genomic regions corresponding to CEN6 in Pisum , Lathyrus , and Vicia species, revealed that metapolycentromeres evolved via the expansion of centromeric chromatin into neighboring chromosomal regions and the accumulation of novel satellite repeats. However, in some of these species, centromere evolution also involved chromosomal translocations and centromere repositioning.

Premise Recent phylogenetic studies of the Araceae have confirmed the position of the duckweeds nested within the aroids, and the monophyly of a clade containing all the unisexual flowered aroids plus the bisexual-flowered Calla palustris. The main objective of the present study was to better resolve the deep phylogenetic relationships among the main lineages within the family, particularly the relationships between the eight currently recognized subfamilies. We also aimed to confirm the phylogenetic position of the enigmatic genus Calla in relation to the long-debated evolutionary transition between bisexual and unisexual flowers in the family. Methods Nuclear DNA sequence data were generated for 128 species across 111 genera (78%) of Araceae using target sequence capture and the Angiosperms 353 universal probe set. Results The phylogenomic data confirmed the monophyly of the eight Araceae subfamilies, but the phylogenetic position of subfamily Lasioideae remains uncertain. The genus Calla is included in subfamily Aroideae, which has also been expanded to include Zamioculcadoideae. The tribe Aglaonemateae is newly defined to include the genera Aglaonema and Boycea. Conclusions Our results strongly suggest that new research on African genera (Callopsis, Nephthytis, and Anubias) and Calla will be important for understanding the early evolution of the Aroideae. Also of particular interest are the phylogenetic positions of the isolated genera Montrichardia, Zantedeschia, and Anchomanes, which remain only moderately supported here.

Seoul orthohantavirus (SEOV) is a rat-associated zoonotic pathogen with an almost worldwide distribution. In 2019, the first autochthonous human case of SEOV-induced hemorrhagic fever with renal syndrome was reported in Germany, and a pet rat was identified as the source of the zoonotic infection. To further investigate the SEOV reservoir, additional rats from the patient and another owner, all of which were purchased from the same vendor, were tested. SEOV RNA and anti-SEOV antibodies were found in both of the patient’s rats and in two of the three rats belonging to the other owner. The complete coding sequences of the small (S), medium (M), and large (L) segments obtained from one rat per owner exhibited a high sequence similarity to SEOV strains of breeder rat or human origin from the Netherlands, France, the USA, and Great Britain. Serological screening of 490 rats from breeding facilities and 563 wild rats from Germany (2007–2020) as well as 594 wild rats from the Netherlands (2013–2021) revealed 1 and 6 seropositive individuals, respectively. However, SEOV RNA was not detected in any of these animals. Increased surveillance of pet, breeder, and wild rats is needed to identify the origin of the SEOV strain in Europe and to develop measures to prevent transmission to the human population.

Consumption of buffalofish has been sporadically associated with Haff disease-like illnesses involving sudden onset muscle pain and weakness due to skeletal muscle rhabdomyolysis, but determination of precisely which species are associated with these illnesses has been impeded by a lack of species-specific DNA-based markers. Here, three closely related species of buffalofish native to the Mississippi River Basin (Ictiobus bubalus, Ictiobus cyprinellus and Ictiobus niger) that have previously proven genetically indistinguishable using both mitochondrial and nuclear single-locus sequencing were reliably discriminated using low-coverage whole genome sequencing (‘genome skimming’). Using 44 specimens representing the three species collected from the mid/upper (Missouri) and lower (Louisiana) regions of the species’ native ranges, the SISRS (Site Identification from Short Read Sequences) bioinformatics pipeline was adapted to (1) identify over 620Mbp of putatively homologous nuclear sequence data and (2) isolate over 140,000 single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that supported accurate species delimitation, all without the use of a reference genome or annotation data. These sites were used to classify Ictiobus spp. samples with genome-skim data, along with a larger set (n=67) where ultraconserved elements (UCEs) were sequenced. Analyses of whole mitochondrial data revealed more limited signal. Nearly all samples matched their purported species based on morphologic identification, but two Missouri samples morphologically identified as I. niger grouped with samples of I. bubalus, albeit with significant enrichment of I. niger SNPs. To our knowledge this is the first report of a DNA-based tool to reliably discriminate these three morphologically distinct species.