Genetics of Anthocyanin Deficiency in Sarracenia L.

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  • 1 Department of Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23284-2012; Meadowview Biological Research Station, 8390 Fredericksburg Turnpike, Woodford, VA 22580

Sarracenia L. is a genus of insectivorous plants confined to wetlands of the United States and Canada. Green mutants, lacking red pigmentation in the leaves, flowers, and growing point, have been found in most Sarracenia species. Controlled crosses were made using green mutants from S. rubra Walter ssp. gulfensis Schnell, S. purpurea L., S. psittacina Mich., and S. leucophylla Raf. Self-pollination of mutant green individuals in four different species resulted in green offspring, whereas reciprocal crosses with respective wild-types resulted in red offspring. Three of six self-pollinated heterozygous S. rubra ssp. gulfensis yielded offspring exhibiting a 3 red : 1 green ratio. Progeny from a testcross and two self-pollinated heterozygous plants of S. purpurea fit the expected ratios, whereas offspring from two S. purpurea crosses had significant deviations in field and laboratory sowing experiments. Offspring from testcrosses with S. rubra Walter ssp. jonesii (Wherry) Wherry met expected ratios under field conditions. Interspecific crosses between green individuals resulted in green offspring. These results suggest that anthocyanin pigmentation is controlled by two alleles at a single locus, with red dominant to green.

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