A Regulatory Gene as a Novel Visible Marker for Maize Transformation

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Science  26 Jan 1990:
Vol. 247, Issue 4941, pp. 449-450
DOI: 10.1126/science.247.4941.449


The temporal and spatial patterns of anthocyanin pigmentation in the maize plant are determined by the presence or absence of the R protein product, a presumed transcriptional activator. At least 50 unique patterns of pigmentation, conditioned by members of the R gene family, have been described. In this study, microprojectiles were used to introduce into maize cells a vector containing the transcription unit from one of these genes (Lc) fused to a constitutive promoter. This chimeric gene induces cell autonomous pigmentation in tissues that are not normally pigmented by the Lc gene. As a reporter for gene expression studies in maize, R is unique because it can be quantified in living tissue simply by counting the number of pigmented cells following bombardment. R may also be useful as a visible marker for selecting stably transformed cell lineages that can give rise to transgenic plants.

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