The effect of the yellow-podded (gp) gene on pea fruits was studied with reference to changes in their plastids. The main effect of the gene was on the mesocarp. The chlorophyll concentration of this layer was depressed to less than 5% of that in normal green pods, allowing considerably higher light transmission through the pod wall. Ultrastructural studies showed that the mesocarp of yellow pods contained plastids with an internal membrane system restricted to single and paired membranes and vesicles. Unlike the chloroplasts of green mesocarps they lacked grana. Large starch grains were found in the plastids of mesocarps from both yellow and green pods.
Well-developed chloroplasts, lacking starch grains, were found in the thin parenchymatous lining of the endocarp in yellow and green pods. Here chlorophyll concentrations were comparable in the two pod types and considerably higher than those found in the normal green mesocarp. However, the higher light levels transmitted to this layer in yellow pods correlated with a higher chlorophyll a:b ratio compared with that in the green pod.