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Genes and genome editing tools for breeding desirable phenotypes in ornamentals

In this research, they review the main genes underlying commercial traits in cut flower species and critically discuss the possibility to apply genome editing approaches to produce novel variation and phenotypes.

Promoting flowering and flower longevity as well as creating novelty in flower structure, colour range, and fragrances are major objectives of ornamental plant breeding. The novel genome editing techniques add new possibilities to study gene function and breed new varieties. The implementation of such techniques, however, relies on detailed information about structure and function of genomes and genes. Moreover, improved protocols for efficient delivery of editing reagents are required. Recent results of the application of genome editing techniques to elite ornamental crops are discussed in this review.

Enabling technologies and genomic resources are reviewed in relation to the implementation of such approaches. Availability of the main gene sequences, underlying commercial traits and in vitro transformation protocols are provided for the world’s best-selling cut flowers, namely rose, lily, chrysanthemum, lisianthus, tulip, gerbera, freesia, alstroemeria, carnation and hydrangea.

Results obtained so far are described and their implications for the improvement of flowering, flower architecture, colour, scent and shelf-life are discussed.

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