Systemic effects of Vg
--W. F. Tracy

Vestigial glume, Vg, reduces the length of the glume in both the pistillate and staminate spikelets. It also has been reported to reduce ligule size. To investigate other effects of Vg we measured plant and ear height in eight inbreds that are near-isogenic for Vg. All Vg plants measured were heterozygous Vg. In extreme cases Vg reduces the size of the tassel, thus we measured plant height from the ground to the ligule of the upper most leaf and ear height from the ground to the ligule of the leaf subtending the ear. In each inbred Vg plants were shorter than their normal siblings (Table 1). Vg plants averaged over all 8 inbreds were only 82cm tall while their wildtype counterparts were 104cm. The most extreme difference was in the inbred Wh8716 in which the Vg plants were only 66% the height of the wildtype plants. Ear height was the same for both types. The stalks of many, if not most, of the Vg plants were twisted above the ear-bearing node. We have also observed that ear size is reduced by Vg in many inbreds and we will be performing yield trials next summer to test this observation.

Table 1. Plant and ear heights from Vg and wildtype plants from 8 inbreds near-isogenic for Vg.
plant height (cm) ear height (cm)
inbred Vg vg wildtype Vg vg wildtype
Crsh2 13 100* 127 58 64
Crsh2 19 93 110 61 67
Crsh2 913 66* 85 28 30
Crse 12 110* 130 52 57
Wh9261 71* 95 35 38
Wh9235 68* 95 30 31
Wh8716 60* 90 35 40
Wh8450 87* 103 45 46
*=significantly less than wildtype

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