Madison, Wisconsin

University of Wisconsin

Rooty coleoptile --Tracy, WF While doing rag doll germinations on seed from ears of an experimental sweet corn population (Cacahuacintle Dulce x Sweet) I observed seedlings with arrowhead shaped coleoptiles (Fig. 1). Upon closer examination I observed that these seedlings were growing roots out the tip of the coleoptile (Fig. 2). In some cases there was a normal opening at the tip so that the third leaf could emerge. In others the tip was closed and the third leaf would emerge only after the tip of the coleoptile was broken. We grew seed from these ears in 1999 and self pollinated the plants. Of eight selfed ears seven had the rooty coleoptiles. Five of the seven ears when pooled had a ratio of 34 rootys out of 120 total seedlings, very close to a three to one ratio. However, of the other two ears, one had most but not all rooty coleoptile seedlings and the other had very few. I have not made enough crosses to make any conclusions on the inheritance of this trait, but it certainly seems heritable.

Figure 1.

Figure 2.

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