Letter | Published:

The evolution of apical dominance in maize

Nature volume 386, pages 485488 (03 April 1997) | Download Citation

Subjects

Abstract

The domestication of crop plants has often involved an increase in apical dominance (the concentration of resources in the main stem of the plant and a corresponding suppression of axillary branches)1. A striking example of this phenomenon is seen in maize (Zea mays spp. mays), which exhibits a profound increase in apical dominance compared with its probable wild ancestor, teosinte (Zea mays ssp. parviglumis)2. Previous research has identified the teosinte branched1 (tb1) gene as a major contributor to this evolutionary change in maize3. We have cloned tb1 by transposon tagging and show here that it encodes a protein with homology to the cycloidea gene of snapdragon4. The pattern of tb1 expression and the morphology of tb1 mutant plants suggest that tb1 acts both to repress the growth of axillary organs and to enable the formation of female inflorescences. The maize allele of tb1 is expressed at twice the level of the teosinte allele, suggesting that gene regulatory changes underlie the evolutionary divergence of maize from teosinte.

Access optionsAccess options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1.

    Crops and Man (Amer. Soc. Agron., Madison, WI, 1992).

  2. 2.

    From teosinte to maize: the catastrophic sexual transmutation. Science 222, 886–894 (1983).

  3. 3.

    , & Teosinte branchedl and the origin of maize: evidence for epistasis and the evolution of dominance. Genetics 141, 333–346 (1995).

  4. 4.

    et al. Origin of floral asymmetry in Antirrhinum. Nature 383, 794–799 (1996).

  5. 5.

    & Inheritance of the morphological differences between maize and teosinte: comparison of results for two F2 populations. Genetics 134, 559–570 (1993).

  6. 6.

    Teosinte branched. Maize Genet. Coop. Newslett. 33, 74 (1959).

  7. 7.

    tb may condition a semi-dominant effect on tiller number. Maize Genet. Coop. Newslett. 66, 5 (1992).

  8. 8.

    & in Plant Genetics (ed. Freeling, M.) 834–836 (Liss, NY, 1985).

  9. 9.

    & The Mu elements of Zea mays Adv. Genet. 30, 77–122 (1992).

  10. 10.

    & in The Maize Handbook (eds Freeling, M. & Walbot, V.) 653–659 (Springer, New York, 1993).

  11. 11.

    & War of the whorls: genetic interactions controlling flower development. Nature 353, 31–37 (1991).

  12. 12.

    et al. Convergent domestication of cereal crops by independent mutations at corresponding genetic loci. Science 269, 1714–1718 (1995).

  13. 13.

    , & Molecular Cloning: a Laboratory Manual (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, New York, 1989).

  14. 14.

    & Sequence analysis and transcriptional regulation by heat shock of polyubiquitin transcripts from maize. Plant Mol. Biol. 12, 619–632 (1989).

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Plant Biology, University of Minnesota, St Paul, Minnesota 55108, USA

    • John Doebley
    •  & Adrian Stec
  2. USDA Plant Gene Expression Center, Albany, California 94710 and Department of Plant Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720, USA

    • Lauren Hubbard

Authors

  1. Search for John Doebley in:

  2. Search for Adrian Stec in:

  3. Search for Lauren Hubbard in:

About this article

Publication history

Received

Accepted

Published

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1038/386485a0

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.