Preliminary cytology of Erianthus species

Cytological examinations were conducted on the pollen mother cells of the plume grass, Erianthus sp., for chromosome number and general morphology of the chromosomes. The meiotic chromosome number of 2n = 60 is established. C. D. Darlington and A. P. Wylie in their book, Chromosome Atlas of Flowering Plants (1945), have listed only three species, namely, E. arundinaceus, E. formosanus, and E. sara (bengalense) with a chromosome count of 2n = 60. A few other species with a 2n count of 20, 30, and 40 have also been reported.

At diakenesis and metaphase, 30 bivalents are formed. Meiotic irregularities or higher associations as trivalents and/or quadrivalents are absent. Pachytene pairing was normal and complete. The chromosomes are achromatic in their entire length except in regions adjacent to the centromere, where they are heterochromatic. Terminal as well as internal knobs are absent. Due to the high number, individual chromosomes could not be identified. Further work is in progress.

This species is important to our understanding of the origin and evolution of teosinte and corn because the morphology of its paired spikelets and rachis segment represents the primitive form starting a sequential series culminating in teosinte and corn.

Chandra V. Pasupuleti and Walton C. Galinat

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

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