Varieties of flax in which heritable changes can be induced by growing the plants in different environments are called plastic varieties. Large differences in plant weight and in amount of nuclear DNA can be induced in them. Other varieties are non-plastic either because they are genetically different or because their ancestral environments have stabilised them, or for both reasons. Crosses and backcrosses made between a plastic flax variety (Pl) and a non-plastic linseed variety (R) were tested for plasticity by determining whether changes in amount of nuclear DNA are induced in them when grown in the specific inducing environments of nitrogen and phosphorus. Pl was found to contain a nuclear factor and a cytoplasmic factor both of which must be present for the plastic character to appear. R contains neither of these factors but it has sites, in common with Pl, at which changes in amount of nuclear DNA occur when the Pl nuclear and cytoplasmic factors are introduced. These genetic elements can be formally separated into regulator and structural genes. A varietal DNA difference between Pl and R of about 2·8 per cent, does not show a consistent pattern of inheritance in the different types of crosses, either because of the inducing treatments or because of other interactions between the genotypes.
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Durrant, A., Timmis, J. Genetic control of environmentally induced changes in Linum. Heredity 30, 369–379 (1973). https://doi.org/10.1038/hdy.1973.45
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