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Genetics. 1995 Sep;141(1):347-60.

Molecular organization and germinal instability of R-stippled maize.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706, USA.


The spotted seed allele R-stippled (R-st) is comprised of the following genetic components: strong seed color (Sc), inhibitor-of-R (I-R) and near-colorless seed (Nc). I-R is a mobile element that represses (Sc) expression irregularly. Germinal I-R losses produce progeny with fully colored seed. Southern blot analysis revealed four r-hybridizing segments in R-st and three, two or one in two sets of unequal crossover deletion products. By comparison to published reports of r gene structure, we maintain that each segment contains at least one r gene. The proximal r gene, Sc, confers strong seed color; the three distal r genes together produce near-colorless seed. R-st's seed spotting phenotype is correlated with the presence of a 3.3-kb insert in Sc identified as I-R. The level of the near-colorless phenotype is inversely correlated with the number of r genes present, suggesting involvement of a multiple copy silencing mechanism in their regulation. Phenotypic changes in R-st occurred primarily by unequal exchange between r genes. The locations of exchange positions showed a strong polarity, nearly all occurring in the 3' portions of the identified r genes.

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