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Genetic Screening for EMS-Induced Maize Embryo-Specific Mutants Altered in Embryo Morphogenesis.

G3 (Bethesda, Md.) (2017-10-06)
Dale C Brunelle, Janice K Clark, William F Sheridan

We have previously identified embryo-specific (emb) mutations that resulted in maize kernels containing abnormal embryos with normal-appearing endosperm among the progeny of active Robertson's Mutator stocks. Our rationale for the mutant screen described here is that it should be possible to produce ethyl methane sulfonate (EMS)-induced emb mutations at a frequency higher than that obtained by transposon mutagenesis and with greater ease. This proved to be the case when we screened for mutations that are embryo-specific among progeny of materials generated with EMS-treated pollen. The EMS-induced emb mutation frequency reported here is nearly three times the 4.5% we obtained with the transposable element stocks. The 45 mutants reported here were all tested for germination capacity and nearly all were lethal. The embryo phenotypes of 34 mutations were examined by dissection of the mature embryos. All were found to be retarded in development and morphologically abnormal. Half of the mutants in this group were blocked in the proembryo and transition stages. They likely include mutations in nuclear genes coding for plastid proteins. The other 17 are mainly blocked in the coleoptilar stage, or in later stages with a low frequency. This group likely includes mutations in genes regulating the completion of shoot apical meristem (SAM) development and accompanying morphogenetic events. Most of the complementation tests using 19 of the mutations in 35 unique combinations complimented each other, except for two pairs of mutations with similar phenotypes. Our results provide additional evidence for the presence of many emb loci in the maize genome.

Product Number
Product Description

Mineral oil, light oil
Ethyl methanesulfonate, liquid