Genetic instability in maize-teosinte hybrids

Mangelsdorf and Galinat have reported several instances of increased mutation rates in derivatives of maize-teosinte hybrids. I have also tested for instability in such hybrids using the outcross-selfing-seedling-testing technique utilized in the testing of mutator lines to pick up mutants. I have limited results on a Mexican teosinte line obtained from Plant Introduction (PI 384063) and a Guatemala teosinte furnished by Dr. Galinat. All crosses were made onto corn silks. In some instances, the F1's had to be backcrossed using maize as the female parent to get ears that would furnish sufficient seeds for seedling tests. The results of these tests are as follows:


These data are too limited for any sweeping conclusions at the present time. They do support the findings of Mangelsdorf and Galinat on the genetic instability of maize-teosinte derivatives. In light of the hybrid dysgenesis work in Drosophila, it would be of interest to perform test crosses in which the cytoplasm was derived from teosinte rather than maize. Such tests are currently being carried out.

Donald S. Robertson

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

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