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Genetics. Nov 2001; 159(3): 1271–1281.
PMCID: PMC1461853

Characterization of mutations that feminize gametophytes of the fern Ceratopteris.


Gametophytes of the fern Ceratopteris are either male or hermaphroditic. Their sex is epigenetically determined by the pheromone antheridiogen, which is secreted by the hermaphrodite and induces male and represses female development in other young, sexually undetermined gametophytes. To understand how antheridiogen represses the development of female traits at the genetic level, 16 new mutations that feminize the gametophyte in the presence of antheridiogen were identified and characterized. Seven are very tightly linked to the FEM1 locus previously described. Nine others define another locus named NOTCHLESS1 (NOT1), as several of the not1 mutants lack a meristem notch. Some not1 mutations also affect sporophyte development only when homozygous, indicating that the not1 mutations are recessive and that NOT1 is also required for normal sporophyte development. The epistatic interactions among FEM1, NOT1, and other sex-determining genes are described. This information was used to expand the genetic model of the sex-determining pathway in Ceratopteris. On the basis of this model, we can say that the presence of antheridiogen leads to the activation of the FEM1 gene, which not only promotes the differentiation of male traits, but also represses female development by activating the NOT1 gene. NOT1 represses the TRA genes necessary for the development of female traits in the gametophyte.

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Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Banks JA. Sex-determining genes in the homosporous fern Ceratopteris. Development. 1994 Jul;120(7):1949–1958. [PubMed]
  • Banks JA. The TRANSFORMER genes of the fern Ceratopteris simultaneously promote meristem and archegonia development and repress antheridia development in the developing gametophyte. Genetics. 1997 Dec;147(4):1885–1897. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Eberle JR, Banks JA. Genetic interactions among sex-determining genes in the fern Ceratopteris richardii. Genetics. 1996 Mar;142(3):973–985. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

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