Stiff stalk (Evergreen stalk), an apparent component of Perennialism (Pe) on short arm of chromosome 4

At the urging of Dr. Paul C. Mangelsdorf, the following report on diploperennis - su gl3 corn backcross segregations that I grew for him is presented. My report to P.C.M. is as follows:

"Unfortunately the starchy portion of the backcross segregation was badly depleted in the three-leaf stage by a dozen or so Canadian geese that landed there. Then an early September frost did not allow good expression of evergreen stalk or of basal shoot development. I did score and stake everything for glossy-3 and I did score for stiff stalk. This was done on November 1 by a swift kick to the second internode above ground level, usually an internode about 3 inches long, and then recording whether the stalk yielded or stood stiff. I thought the trait might be related to evergreen stalk and perennialism. It already occurs in some inbreds such as B73 out of Iowa stiff-stalk synthetic.

"Starchy and sugary were planted in equal numbers but because of the geese, I had only 62 starchy compared to 139 for sugary. The data is pooled here for your 2924-4/2920 and 2927-1/2920 because it appeared identical. St stands for stiff stalk.


"I cannot see that the data for St is meaningful here as I scored for it. I was just dealing with a tendency or subjective trait. You will note there were 125 St to 76 st rather than a 1:1 ratio."

I will add a comment about the possible usefulness of the evergreen stalk trait as follows: In addition to drought resistance from a more robust root system, the evergreen stalk associated with the Pe gene should be useful both in silage corn, by allowing a late season cutting when more time is available, and in breeding high sugar-stalk corn as an alternative for sugar cane.

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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