The gene lk in peas (Pisum sativum L.) confers the erectoides phenotype. This phenotype possesses much reduced internode and petiole lengths and is practically insensitive to applied GA1, compared with Lk plants. Application of the ethylene synthesis inhibitor, aminoethoxyvinylglycine (AVG), resulted in increased internode elongation and increased GA-sensitivity in lk plants, but not in the Lk line, L53. The ethylene-releasing compound, ethephon, had the reverse effect when applied to the Lk line, L58, reducing internode length and GA-sensitivity. Ethylene production was higher in lk segregates than in Lk segregates under the conditions used, and the shoot anatomy of lk segregates was consistent with these higher ethylene levels.
These results suggest that the phenotypic effects of gene lk may be due, at least in part, to increased ethylene production in erectoides plants. However, AVG application to lk plants did not produce true phenocopies of comparable lk plants and ethephon application to Lk plants did not produce the erectoides phenotype. Further work is therefore required to determine whether the effect of the gene lk on ethylene production is the primary action of this gene or merely a secondary consequence.