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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Washington, D.C. » National Arboretum » Floral and Nursery Plants Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #196467


item Griesbach, Robert
item Beck, Ronald - Ron
item Hammond, John

Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/11/2006
Publication Date: 9/11/2006
Citation: Griesbach, R., Beck, R. and Hammond, J. 2006. Regulatory genes in creating flower color patterns. Acta Hort. 714:171-175 (Proceedings).

Interpretive Summary: Many visible traits are the outcome of a biosynthetic pathway. There are two types of genes are involved in the expression of a biosynthetic pathway. The structural genes encode the information to create the enzymes that are responsible for each step in the pathway. The regulatory genes are responsible for controlling the expression of the structural genes. The structural genes need to be turned-on in the right place at the right time. We have developed a model system using a petunia mutant to study how regulatory genes control the expression of structural genes for the anthocyanin biosynthetic pathway. The anthocyanins are the pigments responsible for flower color.

Technical Abstract: Differences in structural gene expression are responsible for a wide range of responses from human cancer to patterned flowers. Gene silencing is one of the ways in which gene expression is controlled. We have developed a model system to study gene silencing using a gene silencing mutation in Petunia (Star mutation) and the ability of certain viruses to reverse the expression of the silencing mutation. This model system was used to characterize how the Star flower color pattern was controlled.