Evidence for regulation of columnar habit in apple by a putative 2OG-Fe(II) oxygenase



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Corrigendum Volume 207, Issue 3, 928, Article first published online: 17 April 2015


  • Understanding the genetic mechanisms controlling columnar-type growth in the apple mutant ‘Wijcik’ will provide insights on how tree architecture and growth are regulated in fruit trees.
  • In apple, columnar-type growth is controlled by a single major gene at the Columnar (Co) locus. By comparing the genomic sequence of the Co region of ‘Wijcik’ with its wild-type ‘McIntosh’, a novel non-coding DNA element of 1956 bp specific to Pyreae was found to be inserted in an intergenic region of ‘Wijcik’.
  • Expression analysis of selected genes located in the vicinity of the insertion revealed the upregulation of the MdCo31 gene encoding a putative 2OG-Fe(II) oxygenase in axillary buds of ‘Wijcik’.
  • Constitutive expression of MdCo31 in Arabidopsis thaliana resulted in compact plants with shortened floral internodes, a phenotype reminiscent of the one observed in columnar apple trees. We conclude that MdCo31 is a strong candidate gene for the control of columnar growth in ‘Wijcik’.