Probing the Component Structure of a Maize Gene with Transposable Elements

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Science  27 Jun 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4451, pp. 1457-1459
DOI: 10.1126/science.208.4451.1457


Three instances of R gene instability were found in maize stocks carrying the controlling elements Dissociation (Ds) and Modulator (Mp). In each, Ds or a Ds-like element had transposed to R, inhibiting kernel pigmentation irregularly. When Mp was removed from the genome, R expression stabilized at lowt to intermediate levels. Strong pigmenting action was restored through recombination in heterozygotes of the three new forms with an R allele that specifies only plant pigmentation. The sites of Ds insertion mapped distal to the region that specifies seed versus plant expression. The evidence suggests that an R functional unit consists of one component that both governs tissue-specific expression and another that is common to alleles of different tissue-specific activities.