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Ribosomal Gene Structure, Variation and Inheritance in Maize and Its Ancestors

E. A. Zimmer, E. R. Jupe and V. Walbot Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, Stanford, California 94305, and Departments of Biochemistry and Botany, Louisiana State University and Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70803 We have examined the structure of nuclear genes coding for ribosomal RNAs in maize and its wild relatives, the teosintes and Tripsacum. Digestion of the rDNA (genes coding for 18S, 5.8S and 26S RNAs) with 15 restriction endonucleases (with six base pair recognition sites) yields essentially a single map for the approximately 10,000 repeat units within an individual plant or species. Both length and site variation were detected among species and were concentrated in the intergenic spacer region of the rDNA repeat unit. This result is in agreement with patterns of rDNA change observed among wheat and its relatives (Triticeae), and among vertebrate species. Digestion of these nuclear DNAs with BamHI and subsequent hybridization with a 5S RNA gene-specific probe allowed determination of the size of the 5S gene repeat unit in maize, teosintes, and Tripsacum. Groupings in the genus Zea were characterized by distinct repeat unit types; five Tripsacum species examined shared a 260 base pair major repeat unit type. Additionally, several other restriction endonuclease cleavage patterns differentiated among the 5S DNAs within the genus Zea. The rDNA and 5S DNA restriction site variation among the species can be interpreted phylogenetically and agrees with biochemical, karyotypic, and morphological evidence that places maize closest to the Mexican teosintes. For both gene arrays, contributions from each parental genome can be detected by restriction enzyme analysis of progeny from crosses between maize and two distantly related teosintes, Zea luxurians or Zea diploperennis, but certain teosinte arrays were underrepresented in some of the hybrids. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Genetics Genetics Society of America

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