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Genetics. 1999 Feb;151(2):849-63.

Isolation of ethyl methanesulfonate-induced gametophytic mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana by a segregation distortion assay using the multimarker chromosome 1.

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Lehrstuhl für Entwicklungsgenetik, Universität Tübingen, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany.


The life cycle of plants comprises two alternating generations, the diploid sporophyte (spore-bearing plant) and the haploid gametophyte (gamete-bearing plant). In contrast to animals, the postmeiotic cells give rise to haploid organisms whose function is to produce the gametes and to mediate fertilization. Analysis of gametophyte development and function has been hampered by the difficulty of identifying haplo-phase-specific mutants in conventional mutagenesis screens. Here we use a genetic strategy that is based on segregation distortion of nearby visible markers to screen for EMS-induced gametophytic mutants in Arabidopsis thaliana. Using the multiple marker chromosome mm1 we have isolated seven lines that displayed an altered segregation of markers. Reciprocal backcrosses of these lines showed a marked reduction of the transmission of the male and/or female gametes. Phenotypic analysis revealed that different aspects of either gametophytic development or function were affected. Three male gametophytic lines showed specific arrests during pollen development. One male gametophytic line was specifically defective in pollen tube elongation. Three gametophytic lines showed variable defects in both male and female gametophytic development.

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