The largest family of angiosperms, Orchidaceae, has diverse, specialized pollination and ecological strategies and provides a rich subject for investigating evolutionary relationships and developmental biology. However, the study of these non-model organisms may be hindered by challenges, such as their large genome size, low transformation efficiency, long regeneration time, and long life-cycle. To overcome these obstacles, we first developed vectors with the use of a symptomless Cymbidium mosaic virus, which infects most orchids, then combined simple physiological controls and virus-induced gene silencing (VIGS) for validation of gene function in orchids. The success of our strategies was verified by our functional validation of floral identity gene(s) in the tetraploid Phalaenopsis orchids, which have an unusually long life-cycle (two years from sowing to flowering). We could knock down the RNA level of either a specific Phalaenopsis floral identity gene or a family of genes congruently in two months. Functional analysis of orchid genes could become easier and profit from the VIGS approach.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)