Phenotypic changes in inactive Mutator stocks

All of our Mutator stocks are drawn from a narrow genetic base and have been crossed to W23, K55 or W23/K55 materials for maintenance. Thus, we would not expect to find much variation in macro plant phenotypes, except as the result of mutation in individual plants. However, various Mutator stocks maintained in our lab that have switched from active to inactive show a delay in flowering time of up to 2 weeks in the field and greenhouse as well as growth chamber-grown material (J. Woodman, pers. communication). In addition to delayed flowering, OFF lines are also shorter and have fewer leaves than active sib lines. These phenotypic changes arise coincident with the loss of Mutator activity; they occur simultaneously in entire families whether the product of selfing or outcrossing, suggesting that the changes are related to the Mutator state, not to the segregation of a particular gene.

Virginia Walbot

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

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