Stability Despite Reduction: Flower Structure, Patterns of Receptacle Elongation and Organ Fusion in Eriocaulon (Eriocaulaceae: Poales)
Eriocaulaceae (Poales) differ from potentially related Xyridaceae in pattern of floral organ arrangement relative to subtending bract (with median sepal adaxial). Some Eriocaulaceae possess reduced and non-trimerous perianth, but developmental data are insufficient. We conducted a SEM investigation of flower development in three species of Eriocaulon to understand whether organ number and arrangement are stable in E. redactum, a species with a highly reduced calyx and reportedly missing corolla of female flowers. Early flower development is similar in all three species. Male and female flowers are indistinguishable at early stages. Despite earlier reports, both floral types uniformly possess three congenitally united sepals and three petals in E. redactum. Petals and inner stamens develop from common primordia. We assume that scanning electron microscopy should be used in taxonomic accounts of Eriocaulonto assess organ number and arrangement. Two types of corolla reduction are found in Eriocaulaceae: suppression and complete loss of petals. Common petal–stamen primordia in Eriocaulon do not co-occur with delayed receptacle expansion as in other monocots but are associated with retarded petal growth. The ‘reverse’ flower orientation of Eriocaulon is probably due to strictly transversal lateral sepals. Gynoecium development indicates similarities of Eriocaulaceae with restiids and graminids rather than with Xyridaceae.
Here, we comment on one such discovery in particular – the recently described compression fossil Nanjinganthus from the Early Jurassic of China (Fu et al., 2018), which has attracted considerable attention in the literature (Taylor & Li, 2018; Coiro et al., 2019; Rümpler & Theißen, 2019). We present new arguments that support a non‐angiosperm interpretation of this fossil, thus further contradicting the original interpretation. Nanjinganthus resembles another Jurassic fossil from China, Euanthus, described in an earlier paper (Liu & Wang, 2016). Both fossils were described by the original authors as pentamerous flowers (sometimes tetramerous in Nanjinganthus) with a double perianth, a unilocular ovary that is inferior (Nanjinganthus) or semi‐inferior (Euanthus), and a long style that is branched (Nanjinganthus) or unbranched (Euanthus) (Liu & Wang, 2016; Fu et al., 2018). Herendeen et al. (2017) disagreed with a floral interpretation for Euanthus and plausibly interpreted the fossil as a fragmentary ovuliferous conifer cone. Noting the similarity of the ‘sepals’ and ‘petals’ of Liu & Wang's (2016) fossil to the lowermost and successive ovuliferous scales of a conifer cone, respectively, they proposed that the naked axis of a fragmentary cone corresponds in shape and size to the structure interpreted by Liu & Wang (2016) as a style. According to Herendeen et al. (2017), the structures interpreted by Liu & Wang (2016) as receptacle, ovary and ovule correspond with the minute non‐ovuliferous scales and the detachment scar of a partially decomposed cone.
European species of Nuphar are among the most accessible members of the basal angiosperm grade, but detailed studies using scanning electron microscopy are lacking. We provide such data and discuss them in the evolutionary context. Dorsiventral monopodial rhizomes of Nuphar bear foliage leaves and non-axillary reproductive units (RUs) arranged in a Fibonacci spiral. The direction of the phyllotaxis spiral is established in seedlings apparently environmentally and maintained through all rhizome branching events. The RUs can be located on dorsal, ventral or lateral side of the rhizome. There is no seasonality in timing of their initiation. The RUs usually form pairs in positions N and N C 2 along the ontogenetic spiral. New rhizomes appear on lateral sides of the mother rhizome. A lateral rhizome is subtended by a foliage leaf (N) and is accompanied by a RU in the position N C 2. We hypothesize a two-step process of regulation of RU/branch initiation, with the second step possibly involving environmental factors such as gravitropism. Each RU has a short stalk, 1- 2 scale-like phyllomes and a long-pedicellate flower. We support a theory that the flower is lateral to the RU axis. The five sepals initiate successively and form two whorls as 3 C 2. The sepal arrangement is not ‘intermediate’ between whorled and spiral. Mechanisms of phyllotaxis establishment differ between flowers and lateral rhizomes. Petal, stamen and carpel numbers are not precisely fixed. Petals are smaller than sepals and form a whorl. They appear first in the sectors of the outer whorl sepals. The stamen arrangement is whorled to chaotic. The merism of the androecium tends to be the same as in the corolla. Flowers with odd numbers of stamen orthostichies are found. These are interpreted as having a non-integer merism of the androecium (e.g., 14.5). Carpels form a whorl in N. lutea and normally alternate with inner whorl stamens. Sterile second whorl carpel(s) are found in some flowers of N. pumila.
The monocot family Triuridaceae is a morphological misfit with respect to several traits of floral morphology, including the uniformly apocarpous polymerous gynoecium and the famous inside-out flowers of Lacandonia. Although Triuridaceae are crucially important for understanding the floral evolution of Pandanales and angiosperms in general, significant knowledge gaps exist which hamper adequate morphological analysis of flowers in this family. The scarcity of morphological data is also reflected in numerous taxonomic inconsistencies. Here we provide a comprehensive study of reproductive organs of four species of Sciaphila occurring in Vietnam (S. arfakiana, S. densiflora, S. nana and S. stellata) including the first investigation of early floral development and gynoecium phyllotaxis. Our observations are mainly based on SEM images. We confirm the perianth (studied in male flowers) to be two-whorled and report a rare sequence of initiation of perianth parts: the outer tepals show a late congenital fusion, as their free lobes appear before the common perianth tube, whereas the inner tepals show an early congenital fusion, with their free lobes initiating on the tube rim. We interpret the stamen appendages as basal adaxial outgrowths of the stamen filaments. We discuss the number of thecae and locules in anthers of Sciaphila, and conclude that 3- and 4-, but not 2-locular anthers are characteristic of this genus. We describe the carpels as consisting of both ascidiate and plicate zones, the former being extremely short and completely obscured by anthesis. The single ovule is attached in the cross-zone. The style is non-plicate. We analyze gynoecium phyllotaxis by estimating its contact parastichies, and by investigating the number and arrangement of the outermost carpels. The carpel arrangement in a given gynoecium is a result of the balance between whorled and irregular (but not spiral) phyllotaxis. We recognize the following figures of gynoecium merism: 6, 9, 10, 10.5, 11 and 12, with the prevalence of those divisible by three. We discuss our results in the light of general diversity of floral structure of monocots. Our data allow to clarify several issues in taxonomy of Asian Sciaphila and indicate directions of further studies. We report a significant range extension for S. densiflora, which is newly recorded for the flora of Vietnam. We describe for the first time staminodes in female flowers of this species. We reveal two distinct morphs of S. nana in Vietnam. We highlight the need of a thorough revision of S. secundiflora species complex in order to verify the species boundaries and, in particular, to test the identity of the Vietnamese S. stellata.
One of the key advances in genome assembly that has led to a significant improvement in contig lengths has been improved algorithms for utilization of paired reads (mate-pairs). While in most assemblers, mate-pair information is used in a post-processing step, the recently proposed Paired de Bruijn Graph (PDBG) approach incorporates the mate-pair information directly in the assembly graph structure. However, the PDBG approach faces difficulties when the variation in the insert sizes is high. To address this problem, we first transform mate-pairs into edge-pair histograms that allow one to better estimate the distance between edges in the assembly graph that represent regions linked by multiple mate-pairs. Further, we combine the ideas of mate-pair transformation and PDBGs to construct new data structures for genome assembly: pathsets and pathset graphs.
Many environmental stimuli present a quasi-rhythmic structure at different timescales that the brain needs to decompose and integrate. Cortical oscillations have been proposed as instruments of sensory de-multiplexing, i.e., the parallel processing of different frequency streams in sensory signals. Yet their causal role in such a process has never been demonstrated. Here, we used a neural microcircuit model to address whether coupled theta–gamma oscillations, as observed in human auditory cortex, could underpin the multiscale sensory analysis of speech. We show that, in continuous speech, theta oscillations can flexibly track the syllabic rhythm and temporally organize the phoneme-level response of gamma neurons into a code that enables syllable identification. The tracking of slow speech fluctuations by theta oscillations, and its coupling to gamma-spiking activity both appeared as critical features for accurate speech encoding. These results demonstrate that cortical oscillations can be a key instrument of speech de-multiplexing, parsing, and encoding.
Papers about natural protection territories
Neuronal nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (NNRs) of the α7 subtype have been shown to contribute to the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens. The site of action and the underlying mechanism, however, are unclear. Here we applied a circuit modeling approach, supported by electrochemical in vivo recordings, to clarify this issue. Modeling revealed two potential mechanisms for the drop in accumbal dopamine efflux evoked by the selective α7 partial agonist TC-7020. TC-7020 could desensitize α7 NNRs located predominantly on dopamine neurons or glutamatergic afferents to them or, alternatively, activate α7 NNRs located on the glutamatergic afferents to GABAergic interneurons in the ventral tegmental area. Only the model based on desensitization, however, was able to explain the neutralizing effect of coapplied PNU-120596, a positive allosteric modulator. According to our results, the most likely sites of action are the preterminal α7 NNRs controlling glutamate release from cortical afferents to the nucleus accumbens. These findings offer a rationale for the further investigation of α7 NNR agonists as therapy for diseases associated with enhanced mesolimbic dopaminergic tone, such as schizophrenia and addiction