A Conserved Mutation in an Ethylene Biosynthesis Enzyme Leads to Andromonoecy in Melons

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Science  08 Aug 2008:
Vol. 321, Issue 5890, pp. 836-838
DOI: 10.1126/science.1159023

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Andromonoecy is a widespread sexual system in angiosperms characterized by plants carrying both male and bisexual flowers. In melon, this sexual form is controlled by the identity of the alleles at the andromonoecious (a) locus. Cloning of the a gene reveals that andromonoecy results from a mutation in the active site of 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid synthase. Expression of the active enzyme inhibits the development of the male organs and is not required for carpel development. A causal single-nucleotide polymorphism associated with andromonoecy was identified, which suggests that the a allele has been under recent positive selection and may be linked to the evolution of this sexual system.

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