Abnormal Lignin in a Loblolly Pine Mutant

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Science  11 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5323, pp. 235-239
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5323.235

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Novel lignin is formed in a mutant loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) severely depleted in cinnamyl alcohol dehydrogenase (E.C., which converts coniferaldehyde to coniferyl alcohol, the primary lignin precursor in pines. Dihydroconiferyl alcohol, a monomer not normally associated with the lignin biosynthetic pathway, is the major component of the mutant's lignin, accounting for ∼30 percent (versus ∼3 percent in normal pine) of the units. The level of aldehydes, including new 2-methoxybenzaldehydes, is also increased. The mutant pines grew normally indicating that, even within a species, extensive variations in lignin composition need not disrupt the essential functions of lignin.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed at U.S. Dairy Forage Research Center, USDA-ARS, 1925 Linden Drive West, Madison, WI 53706–1108, USA. E-mail: jralph{at}

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