Discovery of Transposable Element Activity Among Progeny of Tissue Culture—Derived Maize Plants

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Science  06 Nov 1987:
Vol. 238, Issue 4828, pp. 804-807
DOI: 10.1126/science.238.4828.804


Tissue culture-derived plants of many species have often been observed to possess both genetic and cytogenetic abnormalities. A high frequency of structurally altered chromosomes in maize (Zea mays L.) plants regenerated from tissue culture led to the prediction that newly activated transposable elements could be detected in regenerated plants. Testcrosses of 1200 progeny from 301 regenerated maize plants confirmed that ten regenerated plants from two independent embryo cell lines contained an active Actransposable element. No active Ac elements were present in the explant sources. Recovery of transposable element activity in regenerated plants indicates that some tissue culture—derived genetic variability may be the result of insertion or excision of transposable elements, or both.