A method, based on the diffusion assay of α-amylase on agar plates, was developed to screen for barley (Himalaya) mutants with altered sensitivity to gibberellic acid (GA 3 ) or abscisic acid (ABA) in their aleurone layers. The seeds produced by sodium azide-mutagenized barley were screened for their ability to synthesize and secrete α-amylase when treated with different combinations of hormones. Various GA 3 -insensitive or supersensitive, ABA-insensitive, temperature-dependent GA 3 -insensitive, and constitutive mutants have been identified. Several stable mutants with altered GA 3 sensitivity were recovered. Two of the homozygous GA 3 -insensitive mutants have been preliminarily characterized. The GA 3 -enhanced production of α-amylase and release of phosphatase are hampered in these mutants. However, they have normal stem height, and the uptake of GA 3 by their aleurone layers appears to be the same as that of wild-type barley. They are most likely regulatory mutants affecting both α-amylase synthesis and phosphatase release.
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