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Am J Bot. 2000 Aug;87(8):1193-201.

Two male-sterile mutants of Zea Mays (Poaceae) with an extra cell division in the anther wall.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado 80523-1878 USA;


Two recessive male-sterile mutants of maize with similar patterns of pollen abortion were studied. Genetic studies showed that one of the two mutations was allelic with a previously identified male-sterility locus (ms23) and the other mutation was in a newly identified male-sterility locus (ms32). Cytological characterization of homozygous mutants and fertile heterozygous control siblings was performed using brightfield, fluorescence, and electron microscopy. During normal anther development, the final anther wall periclinal division divides the secondary parietal anther wall layer into the middle layer and tapetum, forming an anther with four wall layers. This is followed by differentiation of the tapetal cells into protoplastic binucleate, secretory tissue. In both the ms23 and ms32 mutants, the prospective tapetal layer divided into two layers, termed t1 and t2, forming an anther with five wall layers. Neither the t1 nor the t2 layers differentiated normally into tapetal layers, as determined by examination of cell walls, nucleus number, and cytoplasmic organization. Pollen mother cells aborted after the onset of prophase I of meiosis, suggesting that an early developmental coordination may exist between tapetum and pollen mother cells.

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