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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of FUN in Sexual Differentiation and Leaf Development in Zea mays

  • Author(s): Vajk, Angus Hugo
  • Advisor(s): Hake, Sarah
  • et al.

While most angiosperms bear hermaphroditic flowers, Zea mays bears male and female flowers on separate inflorescences. Grasses have leaves that possess a sheath, ligule, auricle and blade. This Thesis describes a pleiotropic mutant named fun in Zea mays that bears female flowers where male flowers are expected; and deletes the auricle in adult leaves. Analysis of the interactions between fun and other leaf mutants allow the tentative construction of a developmental pathway including FUN. Double mutant analysis with other sex determination and leaf mutants is presented, demonstrating that the mutation is likely to be involved in multiple hormone pathways, displaying synergistic double mutant interactions with both Jasmoinc Acid and Brassinosteroid mutants. Steps towards creating an antibody to the causative gene are described, and the protein is found to be nuclear localised by YFP fusion and bioinformatic analysis. The FUN gene is found to be conserved across plants, with high conservation in the grasses.

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