New Gene Candidates for the Regulation of Winter Dormancy in Perennial Plants

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  • 1 1Clemson University, Horticulture, Clemson, SC, 29634-0319
  • 2 2Cornell University, Plant Breeding and Genetics, Ithaca, NY, 14853
  • 3 3Clemson University, Genetics, Biochemistry, and Life Science Studies, Clemson, SC, 29634

`Evergrowing' (evg) peach is a naturally occurring mutant unable to enter winter dormancy in response to dormancy inducing conditions. The evg mutant is one of only two described mutants affecting winter dormancy in woody perennial trees. The evg mutation segregates as a single recessive gene and previous work by our group has fine mapped the trait between flanking markers separated by 3.3 centiMorgans. This region was physically mapped using a bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) library from and a contig of overlapping genomic fragments identified. We have utilized several approaches to complete the sequencing of a 132 kilobase region of the peach genome derived from three overlapping BACs that encompass the complete EVG gene containing region. We present here our analysis and annotation of the genomic region, including putative and experimentally verified gene coding sequences. A primary feature of the region is a large tandem duplication of a region containing a MADS-box type DNA binding transcription factor resulting in six similar copies of the gene, all of which appear to be expressed at the mRNA level in wild-type germplasm. Hybridization analysis revealed the presence of a large deletion in the mutant genome. Five of the identified genes fall within the evg mutation and represent new candidates for the control of entrance into winter dormancy.

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