In the summer of 1998, about 10 diploid maize plants were grown in the
field. This maize strain came from Corn-Nuts Inc., California as a gift
of Dr. D. L. Shaver. It grew in the Boston area as a semiperennial because
it failed to regrow from the previous root stock in the second year. During
most of the growth period, all of these plants grew vigorously. However,
in the middle of September, it was noticed that one of the plants was shorter
than the rest. The short plant was apparently slow in growth, with shortened
internodes and thick leaf laminae. At the end of September, a male inflorescence
developed normally, but only a few antheses appeared. Shortly afterward,
some plantlets generated from the spikelets. In the second week of October,
five of the plantlets were removed and planted in the greenhouse. They
stayed green and alive for nearly two months. Then they discontinued growth.
In 1946, Singleton (J. Hered. 37:61-64) reported plantlet generations of
a diploid sweet corn. His attempt to grow the plantlets upon removal from
the original plant was unsuccessful. He further found that the characteristic
of plantlet generation was possibly attributed to a recessive gene, id.
The reversion of floral meristem to juvenile shoot meristem as was observed
in the present study may also be due to a recessive gene. For developmental
genetics, it may be a valuable material of investigation.
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