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Zayneb, C.; Bassem, K.; Zeineb, K.; Grubb, C. D.; Noureddine, D.; Hafedh, M.; Amine, E. Physiological responses of fenugreek seedlings and plants treated with cadmium Environ Sci Pollut Res 22, 10679-10689, (2015) DOI: 10.1007/s11356-015-4270-8

The bioaccumulation efficiency of cadmium (Cd) by fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) was examined using different concentrations of CdCl2. The germination rate was similar to control except at 10 mM Cd. However, early seedling growth was quite sensitive to the metal from the lowest Cd level. Accordingly, amylase activity was reduced substantially on treatment of seeds with 0.5, 1, and 10 mM Cd. Cadmium also affected various other plant growth parameters. Its accumulation was markedly lower in shoots as compared to roots, reducing root biomass by almost 50 %. Plants treated with 1 and 5 mM Cd presented chlorosis due to a significant reduction in chlorophyll b especially. Furthermore, at Cd concentrations greater than 0.1 mM, plants showed several signs of oxidative stress; an enhancement in root hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) level and in shoot malondialdehyde (MDA) content was observed. Conversely, antioxidant enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase (SOD), ascorbate peroxidase (APX), and catalase (CAT)) increased in various plant parts. Likewise, total phenolic and flavonoid contents reached their highest values in the 0.5 mM Cd treatment, consistent with their roles in quenching low concentrations of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Consequently, maintaining oxidant and antioxidant balance may permit fenugreek to hyperaccumulate Cd and allow it to be employed in extremely Cd polluted soils for detoxification purposes.

Flores, R.; Gago-Zachert, S.; Serra, P.; Sanjuán, R.; Elena, S. F. Viroids: Survivors from the RNA World? Annual Rev Microbiol 68, 395 - 414, (2014) DOI: 10.1146/annurev-micro-091313-103416

Because RNA can be a carrier of genetic information and a biocatalyst, there is a consensus that it emerged before DNA and proteins, which eventually assumed these roles and relegated RNA to intermediate functions. If such a scenario—the so-called RNA world—existed, we might hope to find its relics in our present world. The properties of viroids that make them candidates for being survivors of the RNA world include those expected for primitive RNA replicons: (a) small size imposed by error-prone replication, (b) high G+ C content to increase replication fidelity, (c) circular structure for assuring complete replication without genomic tags, (d) structural periodicity for modular assembly into enlarged genomes, (e) lack of protein-coding ability consistent with a ribosome-free habitat, and (f) replication mediated in some by ribozymes, the fingerprint of the RNA world. With the advent of DNA and proteins, those protoviroids lost some abilities and became the plant parasites we now know.
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