Boston College

Mutagenic effect of anther culture per se
--Y. C. Ting

In the last few years, several hundred microspore-plants were obtained by anther culture in vitro. Among these plants, variations in gross morphology as well as in chromosome number and behavior were frequently found. For gross morphology, changes such as leaf chlorophyll content, plant height, leaf shape and flowering time were manifested. Leaf chlorophyll content had a tendency to change from dark green to different kinds of chlorophyll deficiency such as striate (sr), zebra (zb), yellow-stripe (ys), virescent (v), and japonica (j). However, in contrast to the frequent appearance of albino plants from anther culture of rice and wheat, albino plants of maize rarely occurred. Plant height tended to change from the normal parental height to short stature. Chromosome number varied from haploids, to diploids, polyploids and aneuploids. Since these abnormalities did not appear among the plants of the continuously selfed progenies of the parental plants, they must have originated de novo. More studies of the changes, presumably mutations, follow.

A mutation affecting meiotic chromosome behavior was found and it was designated cfu (chromosome fusion at meiosis). This phenomenon was observed in the microspore-plants of KH-13. In the last summer, the inheritance of this mutant was studied again. Transmission was confirmed by examining meiosis of selfed progeny plants. Another mutant, curling leaf (cur), is subject to further tests. It was demonstrated again that this mutant was controlled by a single recessive gene.

It was also found in the summer of 1991 that three inbred lines derived from anther culture of Dan-San 91 were resistant to lodging. In the last summer, these inbreds were grown along with their parental plants for testing. After a rain storm together with strong wind (40 miles per hour) many of the parental plants fell to the ground. All of the inbreds stood up without any damage. This suggests that by anther culture per se, valuable mutations such as resistance to lodging can be brought about spontaneously. 

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