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Transgenic Res. 2005 Oct;14(5):703-12.

Ectopic expression of an FT homolog from citrus confers an early flowering phenotype on trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata L. Raf.).

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Department of Citrus Research, National Institute of Fruit Tree Science, National Agricultural Research Organization, Shizuoka, Okitsu Shimizu-ku 424-0292, Japan.


Citrus FT (CiFT) cDNA, which promoted the transition from the vegetative to the reproductive phase in Arabidopsis thaliana, when constitutively expressed was introduced into trifoliate orange (Poncirus trifoliata L. Raf.). The transgenic plants in which CiFT was expressed constitutively showed early flowering, fruiting, and characteristic morphological changes. They started to flower as early as 12 weeks after transfer to a greenhouse, whereas wild-type plants usually have a long juvenile period of several years. Most of the transgenic flowers developed on leafy inflorescences, apparently in place of thorns; however, wild-type adult trifoliate orange usually develops solitary flowers in the axils of leaves. All of the transgenic lines accumulated CiFT mRNA in their shoots, but there were variations in the accumulation level. The transgenic lines showed variation in phenotypes, such as time to first flowering and tree shape. In F(1) progeny obtained by crossing 'Kiyomi' tangor (C. unshiu x sinensis) with the pollen of one transgenic line, extremely early flowering immediately after germination was observed. The transgene segregated in F(1) progeny in a Mendelian fashion, with complete co-segregation of the transgene and the early flowering phenotype. These results showed that constitutive expression of CiFT can reduce the generation time in trifoliate orange.

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