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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: POSITIONAL CLONING IN MAIZE OF GENES THAT REGULATE PLANT ARCHITECTURE

Location: Plant Gene Expression Center Albany_CA

Title: The heterochronic maize mutant Corngrass1 results from overexpression of a tandem microRNA

Authors
item Chuck, George
item Cigan, Mark - PIONEER HI-BRED IOWA
item Saetrun, Koy - ARS-UCB PLNT GENE EXP CTR
item Hake, Sarah

Submitted to: Nature Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 14, 2007
Publication Date: April 1, 2007
Repository URL: http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/v39/n4/pdf/ng2001.pdf
Citation: Chuck, G.S., Cigan, M.A., Saetrun, K., Hake, S.C. 2007. The heterochronic maize mutant Corngrass1 results from overexpression of a tandem microRNA. Nature Genetics. 39(4)544-549.

Interpretive Summary: Retention of juvenile traits in the adult reproductive phase characterizes a process known as neoteny, and speculation exists over whether it has contributed to the evolution of new species. The dominant Corngrass1 (Cg1) mutant of maize is a neotenic mutation that results in phenotypes that may be present in the grass-like ancestors of maize.

Technical Abstract: We cloned Cg1 and found that it encodes two tandem miR156 genes that are over expressed in the meristem and lateral organs. Furthermore, a target of Cg1 is teosinte glume architecture11, a gene known to have played a role in the domestication of maize from teosinte. Cg1 mutant plants overexpressing miR156 have lowered levels of mir172, a microRNA that targets genes controlling juvenile development2. By altering the relative levels of both microRNAs, it is possible to either prolong or shorten juvenile development in maize, thus providing a mechanism for how species-level heterochronic changes can occur in nature.

Last Modified: 7/31/2014
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