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Plant Cell. 1994 Mar;6(3):385-392.

A Seed Shape Mutant of Arabidopsis That Is Affected in Integument Development.

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  • 1Wageningen Agricultural University, Department of Genetics, Dreijenlaan 2, 6703 HA Wageningen, The Netherlands.


A seed shape mutant of Arabidopsis was isolated from an ethyl methanesulfonate-treated population. Genetic analysis revealed that the heart-shaped phenotype was maternally inherited, showing that this is a testa mutant. This indicated the importance of the testa for the determination of the seed shape. This recessive aberrant testa shape (ats) gene was located at position 59.0 on chromosome 5. A comparison was made between ovules and developing and mature seeds of the wild type and of the mutant using light and scanning electron microscopy. We showed that the mutant seed shape is determined during the first few days after fertilization, when the embryo occupies only a very small part of the seed. The integuments of ats ovules consisted of only three rather than five cell layers. In double mutants, the effect of ats was additive to other testa mutations, such as transparent testa, glabra (ttg), glabrous2 (gl2), and apetala2 (ap2). The ats mutation resulted in a reduced dormancy, which was maternally inherited. This effect of a testa mutation on germination was also seen in ttg seeds, in which the outer layer of the testa was disturbed. This indicated the importance of the testa as a factor in determining dormancy in Arabidopsis.

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