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Plant Physiol. 1995 Jun;108(2):475-87.

Gibberellins promote vegetative phase change and reproductive maturity in maize.

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  • 1Biology Department, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6018, USA.


Postembryonic shoot development in maize (Zea mays L.) is divided into a juvenile vegetative phase, an adult vegetative phase, and a reproductive phase that differ in the expression of many morphological traits. A reduction in the endogenous levels of bioactive gibberellins (GAs) conditioned by any one of the dwarf1, dwarf3, dwarf5, or another ear1 mutations in maize delays the transition from juvenile vegetative to adult vegetative development and from adult vegetative to reproductive development. Mutant plants cease producing juvenile traits (e.g. epicuticular wax) and begin producing adult traits (e.g. epidermal hairs) later than wild-type plants. They also cease producing leaves and begin producing reproductive structures later than wild-type plants. These mutations greatly enhance most aspects of the phenotype of Teopod1 and Teopod2, suggesting that GAs suppress part but not all of the Teopod phenotype. Application of GA3 to Teopod2 mutants and Teopod1, dwarf3 double mutants confirms this result. We conclude that GAs act in conjunction with several other factors to promote both vegetative and reproductive maturation but affect different developmental phases unequally. Furthermore, the GAs that regulate vegetative and reproductive maturation, like those responsible for stem elongation, are downstream of GA20 in the GA biosynthetic pathway.

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