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Cell. 1990 Jan 12;60(1):115-22.

The wrinkled-seed character of pea described by Mendel is caused by a transposon-like insertion in a gene encoding starch-branching enzyme.

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John Innes Institute, Norwich, United Kingdom.


We describe the cloning of the r (rugosus) locus of pea (Pisum sativum L.), which determines whether the seed is round or wrinkled. Wrinkled (rr) seeds lack one isoform of starch-branching enzyme (SBEI), present in round (RR or Rr) seeds. A major polymorphism in the SBEI gene between near-isogenic RR and rr lines shows 100% cosegregation with the r locus, establishing that the SBEI gene is at the r locus. An aberrant transcript for SBEI is produced in rr embryos. In rr lines the SBEI gene is interrupted by a 0.8 kb insertion that is very similar to the Ac/Ds family of transposable elements from maize. Failure to produce SBEI has complex metabolic consequences on starch, lipid, and protein biosynthesis in the seed.

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