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Research teams find key genes for carnations

By LIU KUN in Wuhan and ZHAO RUIXUE | China Daily | Updated: 2022-03-25 09:43


Chinese researchers have found the genetic data set that determines the ornamental features of carnations.

According to an article by research teams from Huazhong Agricultural University in Wuhan, Hubei province, and the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences in Beijing published in Plant Biotechnology Journal this month, the teams found key genes that can be used to cultivate attractive characteristics such as color, form and fragrance.

The discovery will make it possible to cultivate customized carnations with unique colors and scents, Fu Xiaopeng, a professor at the university's College of Horticulture and Forestry Sciences who oversees its research team, told Changjiang Daily.

Fu's team has been researching the genus of plants to which the carnation belongs for over two decades.

Joining hands with researchers from home and abroad, Fu's team spent five years to find the key genes that determine the flower's features.

The team used samples of carnations in multiple stages of development to assess the accumulation of pigment and of the volatile compounds that produce scent.

They then assembled genomic, biochemical and morphological patterns to propose a set of pathways by which ornamental traits such as petal color, double flowers, and fragrance are formed.

"Our discovery has uncovered the tip of the iceberg in the carnation genes. There is still more to do," Fu said.

Gao Ming, 34, who lives in Qingdao, a port city in Shandong province, said she buys carnations for her mother every Mother's Day, mostly red and pink ones.

"My mum likes carnations very much," she said. "It would be amazing if I could buy customized carnations. A pink carnation with the fragrance of a rose would be my favorite."

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