Maize anther culture

Following the disappointing results in many laboratories with attempts to repeat the success in maize anther culture reported by Chinese workers (Scientia Sinica 22:237-247, 1979), a small-scale experiment was set up in July 1979 using field-grown material. 8,686 anthers were plated on modifications of the Chinese medium, and some encouraging results were obtained from two of the genotypes tested:
  Anthers Cultured Anthers Producing Embryoids Plants Obtained
Seneca 60 1716 3 3 (two diploid, one haploid)
F2 hybrid Chinese (seed supplied by Y. C. Ting) 1284 8 2 (one diploid, one not determined)

The best results were achieved using N6-medium with sucrose (12% w/v), casein hydrolysate (500 mg/l) and triiodobenzoic acid (0.35 mg/l), and culturing anthers at the uninucleate vacuolate stage of pollen development.

Of the five plants obtained only one has so far been brought to flowering. This diploid plant from Seneca 60 reached a height of less than 30 cm, but produced an apical tassel and a single lateral cob. The anthers contained very little fertile pollen (less than 2% by iodine-potassium iodide staining), but it remains to be seen whether this low fertility is genetic in origin or simply a consequence of the poor conditions (greenhouse) under which this plant was grown.

Richard Brettell

Please Note: Notes submitted to the Maize Genetics Cooperation Newsletter may be cited only with consent of the authors.

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