Development of a Model Mutagenesis System for Snapdragon
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JI2 mutagenesis system
non-GMO alternative

How to Cite

Lian, Zhaoyuan, Heqiang Huo, Sandra Wilson, and Jianjun Chen. 2020. “Development of a Model Mutagenesis System for Snapdragon”. EDIS 2020 (5).


Snapdragon (Antirrhinum majus) has long been a very popular perennial in the United States due to its unique flower shape with a range of striking colors (Huo and Chen, 2018). Based on their height, snapdragons are typically classified into three categories: dwarf (6-15 inches), medium (1-2 feet), and tall (6-15 feet) . The dwarf variety has a dense, bushy growth pattern, producing numerous flower spikes. They grow on average 6 to 15 inches tall and are ideal plants for use as low borders or in containers. Mid-sized varieties grow 1-2 feet tall and are typically used in borders (either alone or with other bedding plants) and sometimes as cut flowers. Tall varieties range anywhere from 2 to 3 feet in height (Gilman et al. 2018). The magnificent flowers with a wide range of petal colors atop the long green spikes make the tall variety a desirable cut flower for container, bouquets, or gardens. In 2015, fresh-cut snapdragon sales increased 51.7% from 2010 and reached $12.93 million, making it a top ten fresh cut flower in United States(USDA, 2015).

With all of their aesthetic attributes and versatility, snapdragons are also an important model system for genetics and molecular studies of various plant processes.   For example, snapdragon pigmentation mutants produced by transposon (a type of mobile DNAs) mutagenesis have provided researchers a good way to study anthocyanin biosynthesis and subsequently aid plant breeders in developing new varieties with novel flower colors (Jackson et al. 1992). Furthermore, snapdragon has a mechanism by which transposable mutations can be regulated into active and inactive states through temperature control (Hashida et al., 2006). Advantages of this elegant transposon mutagenesis system and how it relates to plant breeding are described in this paper.
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Gilman, E. F., R. W. Klein, and G. Hansen. 2018. Antirrhinum majus Snapdragon. FPS-44. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Hashida, S. N., T. Uchiyama, C. Martin, Y. Kishima, Y. Sano, and T. Mikami. 2006. "The Temperature-Dependent Change in Methylation of the Antirrhinum Transposon Tam3 Is Controlled by the Activity of Its Transposase." Plant Cell 18(1): 104-118.

Heqiang, H., and C. Jianjun. 2018. Planting and Propagation of Snapdragons in Florida. ENH1285. Gainesville: University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

Jackson, D., K. Roberts, and C. Martin. 1992. "Temporal and Spatial Control of Expression of Anthocyanin Biosynthetic Genes in Developing Flowers of Antirrhinum majus." Plant J. 2(4): 425-434.

Kishima, Y., S. Yamashita, C. Martin, and T. Mikami. 1999. "Structural Conservation of the Transposon Tam3 Family in Antirrhinum majus and Estimation of the Number of Copies Able to Transpose." Plant Mol. Biol. 39(2): 299-308.

USDA. 2016. "Floriculture Crops." United States Department of Agriculture.

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