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Crop Biotech Update

Key to Mendel's Pea Flowers

October 15, 2010

Mendel's work to demonstrate inheritance patterns in plants which started 150 years ago was based on the segregating purple and white flower color of pea plants. In an attempt to decipher the genes involved, a group of international scientists at the John Innes Center, an institute of the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, New Zealand's Plant & Food Research, URGV in France and the USDA's Agricultural Research Services compared the pea DNA sequences to those of other well-characterized plants, such as petunia.

The result published in the journal PLos-One revealed that Mendel's gene is a transcription factor that controls the anthocyanin biosynthesis pathway. When mutated, the gene is not active hence no anthocyanin or purple color is produced, resulting to white flowers. Further studies showed that two genes A and A2 regulate the production of anthocyanins.

For details, see the original article at  http://www.jic.ac.uk/corporate/media-and-public/current-releases/101011peaflowercolour.htm