ABSTRACT: The tassel seed mutations of maize cause sex reversal of the florets of the tassel, such that the normally staminate florets develop pistils. Although these mutations have been recognized for many years, little is known about how they act. We have tested the hypothesis that the tassel seed genes interact directly with each other and with other genes controlling sex determination in a single genetic pathway by the construction and analysis of double mutants. On the basis of the phenotypes of the double mutants, the tassel seed mutations were placed into two groups: ts1, ts2, Ts5 and ts4, Ts6. Both groups of tassel seed mutations were additive with the masculinizing mutation dwarf, indicating independent modes of action. Interactions of tassel seed mutations with silkless varied, allowing the ordering of the action of the various tassel seed mutations relative to silkless. Both groups of tassel seed mutations were epistatic with regard to sex expression to mutations that alter both architecture of the plant and distribution of male and female florets, Teopod 1, terminal ear, and teosinte branched. Thus, there are at least two separate genetic pathways that control the sex of florets in maize tassels. In addition, analysis of double mutants revealec that all tassel seed genes tested play a role in the regulation of flower morphogenesis as well as pistil suppression. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Developmental Genetics 02/2005; 15(2):155 - 171.