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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A System for Study of the Biochemical and Molecular Basis of Heterosis in Maize

item Widstrom, Neil
item McMullen, Michael
item Snook, M. - USDA-ARS RETIREE

Submitted to: Genetics and Exploitation of Heterosis in Crops
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Not Required.

Technical Abstract: The basis and mechanism(s) of heterosis in crop plants are not well understood, and explanations for the "hybrid vigor" phenomenon have included dominance, overdominance, heterotic chromosome blocks and epistasis. The study of regulation and expression of flavonoid biosynthesis in corn, Zea mays L., has been suggested as a useful approach to investigation of the mechanism(s) producing vigor in heterozygous genotypes. Numerous genes, enzymes, compounds, and associated reactions in the corn flavonoid biosynthetic pathway are known. Of particular interest to us are maysin and related compounds in the family of flavones, several of which are found in maize silks that exhibit inhibitory responses in corn earworm, Helicoverpa zea Boddie, when consumed as part of their diet. The identification and quantitation of these compounds is now routinely accomplished by high-performance liquid chromatography. Several crosses manifesting heterosis for maysin and its analogues are now available, providing an excellent opportunity for study of interrelationships among genes, enzymes, and pathway reactions that influence resulting concentrations of these compounds in maize silks.

Last Modified: 5/5/2015
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