Studies of Colchicine Treated Maize and Sorghum Seedlings

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Hanson, George P.
South Dakota State University
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The appearance of true-breeding diploid mutants from a true-breeding diploid inbred line of Pers. treated with colchicine has been reported. The authors of the reports later proposed that a variant arose through a colchicine-induced somatic reduction accompanied by point mutations with subsequent restoration to the diploid condition. This mutant cell, favored by a positional advantage or desirable genotype, divided producing daughter cells which multiplied rapidly and soon comprised most of the apical variation to form a plant exhibiting the genotype of the original mutant cell. Tests of the somatic reduction hypothesis have been attempted but were limited by the lack of known genetic and cytological markers in sorghum. The purpose of the present study was to test this hypothesis using an organism in which such markers were readily available. F1 maize seedlings heterozygous for various markers were colchicine treated and the resulting plants examined for possibility of induced homozygosity. Studies of the seedlings were made in an attempt to determine the effect of environment following colchicine application on the production of colchicine-tumors. The relationship of c-tumor formation to resulting variant was also studied.