University of Wisconsin
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.
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