Article ID: 18029
Carnations carrying a recessive I gene show accumulation of the yellow pigment chalcononaringenin 2′-glucoside (Ch2′G) in their flowers, whereas those with a dominant I gene do accumulation the red pigment, anthocyanin. Although this metabolic alternative at the I gene could explain yellow and red flower phenotypes, it does not explain the development of orange flower phenotypes which result from the simultaneous accumulation of both Ch2′G and anthocyanin. The carnation whole genome sequencing project recently revealed that two chalcone isomerase genes are present, one that is consistent with the I gene (Dca60979) and another (Dca60978) that had not been characterized. Here, we demonstrate that Dca60979 shows a high level of gene expression and strong enzyme activity in plants with a red flower phenotype; however, functional Dca60979 transcripts are not detected in plants with an orange flower phenotype because of a dTdic1 insertion event. Dca60978 was expressed at a low level and showed a low level of enzyme activity in plants, which could catalyze a part of chalcone to naringenin to advance anthocyanin synthesis but the other part remained to be catalyzed chalcone to Ch2′G by chalcone 2′-glucosyltransferase, resulting in accumulation of anthocyanin and Ch2′G simultaneously to give orange color.