Journal Article

When Genomes Collide: Aberrant Seed Development Following Maize Interploidy Crosses

Paul D. Pennington, Liliana M. Costa, Jose F. Gutierrez-Marcos, Andy J. Greenland and Hugh G. Dickinson

in Annals of Botany

Published on behalf of The Annals of Botany Company

Volume 101, issue 6, pages 833-843
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0305-7364
Published online February 2008 | e-ISSN: 1095-8290 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aob/mcn017
When Genomes Collide: Aberrant Seed Development Following Maize Interploidy Crosses

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  • Ecology and Conservation
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Plant Sciences and Forestry

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Background and Aims

The results of wide- or interploidy crosses in angiosperms are unpredictable and often lead to seed abortion. The consequences of reciprocal interploidy crosses have been explored in maize in detail, focusing on alterations to tissue domains in the maize endosperm, and changes in endosperm-specific gene expression.

Methods

Following reciprocal interploidy crosses between diploid and tetraploid maize lines, development of endosperm domains was studied using GUS reporter lines, and gene expression in resulting kernels was investigated using semi-quantitative RT-PCR on endosperms isolated at different stages of development.

Key Results

Reciprocal interploidy crosses result in very small, largely infertile seeds with defective endosperms. Seeds with maternal genomic excess are smaller than those with paternal genomic excess, their endosperms cellularize earlier and they accumulate significant quantities of starch. Endosperms from the reciprocal cross undergo an extended period of cell proliferation, and accumulate little starch. Analysis of reporter lines and gene expression studies confirm that functional domains of the endosperm are severely disrupted, and are modified differently according to the direction of the interploidy cross.

Conclusions

Interploidy crosses affect factors which regulate the balance between cell proliferation and cell differentiation within the endosperm. In particular, unbalanced crosses in maize affect transfer cell differentiation, and lead to the temporal deregulation of the ontogenic programme of endosperm development.

Keywords: Fertilization; interploidy crosses; endosperm; maize; Zea mays; imprinting; epigenetics; gene dosage; seed development

Journal Article.  5448 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ecology and Conservation ; Evolutionary Biology ; Plant Sciences and Forestry

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