Viability of pollen
--Charles R. Burnham

I remember E. M. East, EM telling me in 1930 that a rainstorm came up before he had made pollinations with all the bags of pollen he had collected. He threw them in a shed. The next day was clear and he decided to use the bags of pollen he had collected the previous day. He was surprised by the success of the pollinations.

A few years ago, I was test-crossing a lot of plants from selfs of cultures from a stock which, although heterozygous for ms1, did not segregate male steriles in the self progeny. I ran out of ears on ms plants and left the bags in the field. The next day more ears were ready and I used those bags of pollen. Again, there were well-filled ears.

Is it possible that the occasional contaminations are from pollen grains from other plants lodged on the tassel at the time of bagging, even though few and greatly outnumbered? 


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