One of the leading cut-flower crops in the world, the greenhouse carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus), has been subjected to intense breeding efforts for the past few hundred years. As an ornamental crop, flowering and flower architecture are major breeding targets that are constantly in demand. In an ongoing breeding program aimed at improving these characteristics, two mutants heterozygous for a mutation in a gene termed evergreen (e) were identified. In these mutants, spike-like clusters of bracteoles subtend each flower. Genetic analysis of the mutants confirmed the semidominant nature of this nuclear mutation and that the two original mutants were allelic at the evergreen locus. In homozygous mutant plants, a more severe phenotype was observed. Flower formation was completely blocked and spike-like clusters of bracteoles did not subtend any flowers. Morphological characterization of mutant plants revealed that vegetative growth and inflorescence structure are not affected by the mutant allele. In plants heterozygous for the evergreen mutation, fertility, petal and pistil length, calyx diameter, and stamen number were not affected. However, flowers from these heterozygous plants had a reduced number of petals, suggesting an intriguing link between evergreen and the double flower (d) gene that determines petal number in carnation. The control by evergreen of bracteole formation, floral meristem initiation, and petal number in carnation is discussed in comparison to the recessive leafy (lfy) and floricaula (flo) mutants of Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum, respectively.
|Original language||American English|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Journal of Heredity|
|State||Published - 2000|