The fused leaves mutant in maize is altered in the embryo
and juvenile leaf morphology
--Frascarolo, P, Landoni, M, Dolfini, S1, Gavazzi, G, Consonni, G
The "fused leaves" (fdl) mutant was originally isolated by Dr. Jane Langdale in a genetic line carrying an active Spm; it behaves as a single gene recessive mutant and its phenotype is recognizable shortly after germination. In comparison to wild-type siblings, homozygous Fdl seedlings show a delay in germination; they also exhibit curly initial leaves that develop precociously while still enclosed in the coleoptile. Frequently, among mutant seedlings, fusion of the leaf surface is also observed: the first and the second leaves or, alternatively, the coleoptile and the first leaf are fused together. Later on in the development, the plant acquires a normal phenotype with expanded and discrete leaves. Homozygous mutant plants at four leaves stage are indistinguishable from wild type plants; they can be grown to maturity and selfed to obtain homozygous progeny seedlings.
Histological analysis reveals that fusion occurs between the epidermis
of the leaves. The epidermis of the curly leaf is also altered in the cell
morphology: the presence of a series of cells with larger diameter and
irregular shape is observed where the fusion occurs. Development of the
mutant embryo is delayed in comparison to the wild type embryo, particularly
at the level of the shoot primordia. At maturity, the plumule comprises
five leaf primordia whose morphology is altered, anticipating leaf morphology
of the mutant seedling.
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