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  • Author or Editor: Andrea Quintana x
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Wild Anagallis monelli has blue or orange flowers. Hybrids with red flowers were developed at the Univ. of New Hampshire. Orange is due to pelargonidin, but delphinidin and malvidin can also be present; red is due to delphinidin and malvidin; and blue is due to malvidin only. In this study, blue and orange wild diploid accessions were used to develop four F2 populations (n = 46 to 81). In three populations, segregation ratios supported a previously proposed three-gene model for flower color in this species (P> 0.01). In the fourth population, white flower color was obtained in addition to blue, orange, and red. Molecular studies of genes in the anthocyanin pathway using a candidate gene approach are in progress. In a separate F2 population, blue, violet, lilac, and red flower colors were obtained. One hybrid per color was studied on three replicate plants. Cells with vacuoles containing anthocyanins in upper and lower petal epidermis peels were counted in five flowers per clone using light microscopy (M = 200×). Blue and red hybrids had mostly blue and red cells, respectively, on both surfaces. Lilac and violet hybrids included cells that were blue and intermediate (containing both red and blue) on both surfaces, and also had red cells on the lower epidermis only. Violet hybrids had more blue cells on the upper epidermis than the lilac hybrids. Anthocyanins were determined by HPLC for each petal epidermis in the four flower colors. The blue hybrid had only malvidin in both upper and lower epidermis, and the red hybrid had mainly delphinidin in both surfaces. Lilac and violet hybrids had small amounts (2% and 2.5%, respectively) of delphinidin on upper surfaces, while lower surfaces had 25% to 33% delphinidin.

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Wild Anagallis monelli exhibits blue or orange flower colors in geographically isolated populations. A new red flower color was developed through breeding, and a three-gene model was proposed for the inheritance of flower color in this species. In this study, blue and orange wild diploid accessions were used as parents to develop six F2 populations (n = 19 to 64). Sexual compatibility between blue and orange wild individuals was low with only 29% of the hybridizations producing F1 individuals. Six of 14 cross combinations between F1 siblings produced fruits, and fruiting success ranged from 55% to 90%. The number of seeds per fruit averaged 14.1 and germination rates for the F2s were low (16.8% to 30.7%). In three of six F2 populations obtained, flower color segregation ratios for orange, blue, and red were not significantly different from the expected ratios under a previously proposed three-gene model. White flower color was obtained as a fourth color variant in two of the remaining F2 populations. For one of these populations, segregation ratios were not significantly different from expected ratios for an expanded four-gene model. White flowers did not contain anthocyanidins, suggesting that there was a mutation in the early stage of the anthocyanin pathway. Orange flower color was found to be primarily the result of pelargonidin, blue to malvidin, and red to delphinidin. These three pigments may be present simultaneously, and their ratios play a significant role in determining flower color. Other factors such as copigments, metal ions, or a different molecular conformation of the anthocyanin could also be involved in flower color determination.

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