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G3 (Bethesda). 2011 Sep;1(4):259-61. doi: 10.1534/g3.111.000729. Epub 2011 Sep 1.

Variable transposition of eight maize activator (ac) elements located on the short arm of chromosome 1.

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Department of Biology, University of North Dakota, Grand Forks, North Dakota 58202.


Eight Activator (Ac) transposable elements mapped to the maize chromosome arm 1S were assessed for Ac transposition rates. For each of the Ac stocks, plants homozygous for the single Ac element and the Ds reporter r1-sc:m3 on chromosome 10 were crossed as females by a homozygous r1-sc:m3 tester color-converted W22 line. The resulting ears produced mostly coarsely spotted kernels and a low frequency of either near-colorless fine-spotted kernels or nonspotted kernels. The relative frequency of these two types of near-colorless kernels differed among the eight Ac stocks. The extent to which increased Ac dosage results in nonspotted kernels may be Ac-specific. Although all of the Ac elements are in near-isogenic inbred W22 lines, they varied to a large extent in their transposition frequency. These differences might possibly result from structural differences among the Ac elements. Because one pair of Ac elements derived from Ac33 on chromosome arm 5S differed about 13-fold in transposition frequency and a second pair of Ac elements derived from Ac12 on chromosome arm 1S differed about 3-fold in transposition frequency, this is not a likely explanation for all eight Ac elements. The data presented here support the notion that the differences in transposition frequency of the eight Ac elements may be a reflection of variability in Ac transcription or accessibility of the transposase to the Ac element, resulting from differences in the chromatin environments wherein the Ac elements are located. This is the first report of variability in transposition rates among different Ac donor lines.


Ac elements; maize; transposition rate; variability

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