Alcohol induced silencing of gibberellin 20-oxidases in Kalanchoe blossfeldiana

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Reduction in the amounts of active gibberellic acids (GA) in elongating cuttings from the ornamental crop Kalanchoe blossfeldiana were pursued by genetic manipulation as an alternative to synthetic growth regulators. An alcohol inducible promoter system was used to control silencing of GA activating enzymes. Apart from affecting the stem length, abnormal levels of GA can lead to altered flowering time, lacking seed maturation and changes in morphology. The effects of down regulating a group of GA 20-oxidases were investigated in fast growing cuttings of K.blossfeldiana Poelln. cv. Molly. The transgenic plants were phenotypically indistinguishable from wild type plants until silencing was induced by low concentrations of ethanol. Treated plants were reduced in height but otherwise appeared normal; flowering was delayed but with large variations in time between the transgenic lines. These data indicate that optimisation of the ethanol treatments can enable us to produce more compact growing plants still maintaining normal flowering.

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