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Is the Suppressor-mutator element controlled by a basic developmental regulatory mechanism?

, : Is the Suppressor-mutator element controlled by a basic developmental regulatory mechanism?. Genetics 120(2): 559-577

We report the results of genetic studies on derivatives of two different alleles of the maize a locus with an insertion of the Suppressor-mutator (Spm) transposable element in which the element is inactive, but can be reactivated readily. We present evidence that the mechanism that determines whether the element is in an active or inactive phase has two genetically distinguishable components. One determines whether or not the element is genetically active (the phase setting) and the other determines the stability of the setting in development, its heritability, and its phase in the next generation (the phase program). We show that the element's phase can be reset in a reproducible pattern during plant development. We also show that the Spm element can be reprogrammed to undergo a subsequent phase change without a concomitant phase change. The capacity to reset and reprogram the Spm element is differentially expressed within the plant in a pattern that is correlated with the developmental fate of apical and lateral meristems, suggesting the involvement of a basic developmental determination mechanism.

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Accession: 001871135

PMID: 2848747

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