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Genetics. May 1978; 89(1): 121–136.
PMCID: PMC1213822

Heterogeneity of Maize Cytoplasmic Genomes among Male-Sterile Cytoplasms


Maize mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA's were prepared from normal (fertile) lines or single crosses and from members of the T, C, and S groups of male-sterile cytoplasms. Restriction endonucleases HindIII, BamI, EcoRI, and SalI were used to restrict the DNA, and the resultant fragments were electrophoresed in agarose gels. The results show that the N (fertile), T, C, and S cytoplasms each contained distinct mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). These distinctive patterns were unaffected by nuclear genotype. No evidence of paternal inheritance of mtDNA was observed. Chloroplast DNA (ctDNA) from the N, C, and T cytoplasms was indistinguishable by HindIII, SalI, or EcoRI endonuclease digestion. The S cytoplasm ctDNA, however, was slightly different from that of other cytoplasms, as indicated by a slight displacement of one band in HindIII digests. The molecular weight of maize ctDNA was estimated to be as high as 88 x 106. Estimates of the minimum molecular weight of maize mtDNA ranged from 116–131 x 106, but the patterns were to complex for an unambiguous determination. Based on HindIII data, a comparison of the molecular weight of mtDNA bands common to the N, T. C, and S cytoplasms suggests that C cytoplasm most closely resembles N cytoplasm. The T and S sources are more divergent from the C and N cytoplasms. These results indicate a possible gradation of relatedness among male-sterile cytoplasms. The marked variation in mtDNA, with apparently less variation in ctDNA, represents circumstantial, but compelling, evidence that mtDNA may be involved in the male sterility and disease susceptibility traits in maize.

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  • Aldrich HC, Gracen VE, York D, Earle ED, Yoder OC. Ultrastructural effects of Helminthosporium maydis race T toxin on mitochondria of corn roots and protoplasts. Tissue Cell. 1977;9(1):167–177. [PubMed]

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