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Characterization of two novel barren mutants in maize /


Maize inflorescence architecture is dictated by groups of tightly regulated pluripotent stem cells called meristems, capable of forming all lateral organs. The barren class of maize mutants has defects in the formation and development of these meristems that result in an obvious decrease in branching events evident as "barren" patches on the ear and/or tassel, the two maize inflorescences. Previously cloned barren mutants have tied meristem initiation and development to the phytohormone auxin. Barren inflorescence3 (Bif3) and barren inflorescence173 (bif173) are two novel maize barren mutants affected in inflorescence development. Detailed morphological analyses suggest that these mutant phenotypes are caused by defects in meristem maintenance and/or initiation. With the characterization and cloning of the genes affected in both mutants we hope to identify new pathways controlling meristem function, and increase our knowledge on the regulation of maize inflorescence architecture

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