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Evidence for a common sex determination mechanism for pistil abortion in maize and in its wild relative Tripsacum

By Dadong Li, C. Ann Blakey, Chet Dewald and Stephen L. Dellaporta


Cultivated maize (Zea mays) and several other members of the Tribe Andropogoneae produce unisexual florets. In maize, the formation of two staminate florets in each spikelet on the tassel and a single pistillate floret in each spikelet on the ear includes a pistil abortion process that requires the action of the TASSELSEED2 gene. In Eastern gamagrass (Tripsacum dactyloides) the GYNOMONOECIOUS SEX FORM1 gene appears to perform a similar role in pistil abortion. These genes were shown to be homeologs by restriction fragment length polymorphism mapping and by the failure of the gsf1 and ts2 alleles to complement one another in intergeneric hybrids. Molecular analysis of the gsf1 allele shows that it is caused by a 1.4-kb deletion mutation. Both TASSELSEED2 and GYNOMONOECIOUS SEX FORM1 show similar expression patterns in subepidermal cells of pistils just before abortion. These results suggest that the formation of staminate florets in the Andropogoneae represents a monophyletic trait

Topics: Biological Sciences
Publisher: The National Academy of Sciences of the USA
Year: 1997
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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