In vivo and in vitro flowering response of chicory (Cichorium intybus L.): influence of plant age and vernalization
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Chicory plants (Cichorium intybus L. var foliosum cv Flash) were tested with and without a 4-week-long cold treatment for in vivo and in vitro flowering potential every 2 weeks during the growing season. One hundred percent of the plants harvested 112 days or later after sowing and then vernalized flowered in vivo. In vitro, no vernalization was needed to initiate flowering-stems on chicory explants taken from roots of 100 days old and older. 5-Azacytidine, a DNA demethylation agent, increased the flowering percentage on explants from young, vernalized roots but could not induce more than 15% flowering on young, nonvernalized roots. The greater flowering potential of chicory root explants in vitro when compared to plants of the same age tested in vivo was clearly established. This result suggests that some negative control on flowering was removed when root explants were excised and the main plant body discarded.
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