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A new petunia flower colour generated by transformation of a mutant with a maize gene


Petunia hybrida is one of the classical subjects of investigation in plants in which the pathway of anthocyanin biosynthesis has been analysed genetically and biochemically. In petunia cyanidin- and delphinidin-derivatives, but no pelargonidin-derivatives are produced as pigments. This is due to the substrate specificity of the dihydroflavonol 4-reductase of petunia, which cannot reduce dihy-drokaempferol. The petunia mutant RL01, which accumulates dihydrokaempferol, shows no flower pigmentation. RL01 served as a recipient for the transfer of the A1 gene of Zea mays encoding dihydroquercetin 4-reductase, which can reduce dihydrokaempferol and thereby provided the intermediate for pelargonidin biosynthesis. Transformation of RL01 with a vector p35Al, containing the A1 -complementary DNA behind the 35S promotor leads to red flowers of the pelargonidin-type. Thus a new flower pigmentation pathway has been established in these plants.

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Meyer, P., Heidmann, I., Forkmann, G. et al. A new petunia flower colour generated by transformation of a mutant with a maize gene. Nature 330, 677–678 (1987).

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