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Genetics. Mar 1996; 142(3): 1009–1020.
PMCID: PMC1207000

The Mac1 Gene: Controlling the Commitment to the Meiotic Pathway in Maize


The switch from the vegetative to the reproductive pathway of development in flowering plants requires the commitment of the subepidermal cells of the ovules and anthers to enter the meiotic pathway. These cells, the hypodermal cells, either directly or indirectly form the archesporial cells that, in turn, differentiate into the megasporocytes and microsporocytes. We have isolated a recessive pleiotropic mutation that we have termed multiple archesporial cells1 (mac1) and located it to the short arm of chromosome 10. Its cytological phenotype suggests that this locus plays an important role in the switch of the hypodermal cells from the vegetative to the meiotic (sporogenous) pathway in maize ovules. During normal ovule development in maize, only a single hypodermal cell develops into an archesporial cell and this differentiates into the single megasporocyte. In mac1 mutant ovules several hypodermal cells develop into archesporial cells, and the resulting megasporocytes undergo a normal meiosis. More than one megaspore survives in the tetrad and more than one embryo sac is formed in each ovule. Ears on mutant plants show partial sterility resulting from abnormalities in megaspore differentiation and embryo sac formation. The sporophytic expression of this gene is therefore also important for normal female gametophyte development.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
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