Genetic Control of Organ Abscission (NEVERSHED)
Inventors: Sarah Liljegren, Joseph Ecker and Marty Yanofsky
Potential Uses: Plant Biology, Agriculture, Horticulture, Floriculture
Mutation in the NEVERSHED family resulting in decreased plant organ abscission. NEV provides opportunities to increase crop yield and to control shedding.
It has been discovered that genetic modification of particular genes in a plant can result in modulation of organ abscission (the natural separation of flowers, fruit, or leaves from plants). Thus, the genes and methods of this technology can be used to control the timing and development of the abscission (separation) zones on plants. Accordingly, plants can be designed to maintain structures (e.g., fruit, grains, vegetables, flowers etc.) for a longer period of time on the plant or, conversely, to selectively shed such structures earlier or at a pre-selected time. The ability to genetically manipulate abscission zone differentiation in agronomically important plants will provide valuable opportunities to improve crop yield and to simplify harvesting as well as applications in the floral industry. The invention identifies NEVERSHED (NEV), a gene responsible for controlling abscission via mutation of ARF-GAp domains. In Arabidopsis, modulation of NEV results in inhibiting abscission of flowers and, to a lesser extent, of leaves. Therefore, NEV has the potential of controlling abscission of commercially-relevant crops. Foe example, NEV may be used to regulate abscission in cotton and prevent the shedding of cotton balls until ready for harvest. Similarly, NEV may be used to inhibit abscission in corn, rice, or to control shedding of fruits and vegetables like peaches or tomatoes.