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Mol Gen Genet. 1997 Oct;256(3):223-30.

Dap (Defective aleurone pigmentation) mutations affect maize aleurone development.

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Dipartimento di Fisiologia delle Piante coltivate e Chimica agraria, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy.


Dap (Defective aleurone pigmentation) is the designation for mutations in maize that give rise to a characteristic dappled endosperm phenotype, consisting of patches of purple tissue, of variable size and shape, on a yellow background. Features shared by all Dap mutants are: dominant expression when they are maternally derived, lack of expression or transmission when they originate from pollen, failure to recover homozygous Dap genotypes, reduced frequency of Dap seeds in the progeny of outcrosses of Dap/+ females, association of the dappled phenotype with reduction in seed size. The mutants so far tested, six in all, can be grouped into two classes, one including male-transmissible (MT) isolates not expressed in the endosperm if their contribution is paternal, and a second class of isolates (NMT) that are permanently lost following paternal transmission. We suggest that the NMT mutations are on a chromosome that carries an intercalary deletion. Assuming linkage between the mutant and the deletion, selection against the deficient chromosome during male gametogenesis would account for the failure to recover Dap seeds in the progeny of Dap/+ male parents. We have obtained genetic evidence supporting this hypothesis. This interpretation, however, does not apply to MT alleles. For these, other mechanisms, such as imprinting and/or dosage effects may be proposed. The mutable pattern in the endosperm to which all Dap mutants give rise is an intriguing phenotype which remains to be clarified. An unexpected finding is that aleuronic and subaleuronic cells corresponding to the colourless areas are abnormal in shape and anthocyanin biosynthesis is blocked in these cells. This finding calls for further investigation in light of a possible connection between flavonoid precursors and cell shape.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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