Submitted to: Acta Horticulture Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: May 16, 2005
Publication Date: October 31, 2006
Citation: Hammond, J. 2006. Current status of genetically modified ornamentals. Acta Horticulture. 722:117-128. Interpretive Summary: The potential advantages of genetic engineering to introduce specific new traits into horticulturally adapted varieties of ornamental plants are briefly reviewed. It is possible to introduce such traits as disease resistance, or to modify such characteristics as flower color or fragrance, or the way that a plant branches, by transferring one or a few genes from another organism. The lack of genes for resistance to diseases affecting ornamental crops is one area where genetic engineering has significant potential for increases in crop productivity and quality. The status of experimental work on disease resistance is compared to the current commercial availability of only a few varieties of genetically modified carnations, in which flower color was modified by introduction of an enzyme that affects the biosynthetic pathway. This results in production of floral pigments that are not normally produced in carnation, and a range of blue/purple flowers. Achievements in obtaining resistance to virus diseases of significance to ornamental plants are reviewed, with special emphasis on genetic engineering of ornamental crops to obtain virus resistance.