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Determination for inflorescence development is a stable state, separable from determination for flower development in Pisum sativum L. buds

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Terminal meristems of Pisum sativum (garden pea) transit from vegetative to inflorescence development, and begin producing floral axillary meristems. Determination for inflorescence development was assessed by culturing excised buds and meristems. The first node of floral initiation (NFI) for bud expiants developing in culture and for adventitious shoots forming on cultured meristems was compared with the NFI of intact control buds. When terminal buds having eight leaf primordia were excised from plants of different ages (i.e., number of unfolded leaves) and cultured on 6-benzylaminopurine and kinetin-supplemented medium, the NFI was a function of the age of the source plant. By age 3, all terminal buds were determined for inflorescence development. Determination occurred at least eight nodes before the first axillary flower was initiated. Thus, the axillary meristems contributing to the inflorescence had not formed at the time the bud was explanted. Similar results were obtained for cultured axillary buds. In addition, meristems excised without leaf primordia from axillary buds three nodes above the cotyledons of age-3 plants gave rise to adventitious buds with an NFI of 8.3 ±0.3 nodes. In contrast seed-derived plants had an NFI of 16.5 ±0.2. Thus cells within the meristem were determined for inflorescence development. These findings indicate that determination for inflorescence development in P. sativum is a stable developmental state, separable from determination for flower development, and occurring prior to initiation of the inflorescence at the level of meristems.

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first node of floral initiation


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Author information

Correspondence to Susan R. Singer.

Additional information

We thank Drs. Dorothy Jegla (Kenyon College, Gambier, Oh., USA), Michael Marcotrigiano (University of Massachussets, Amerherst, USA), and Carl McDaniel (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., USA) for critical reviews of the manuscript and Ms. Heidi Junger for excellent plant care. This work was supported by U.S. Department of Agriculture grants 87-CRCR-1-2554 and 90-37261-5516 to S.R.S; C.J.F was supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Undergraduate Biological Sciences Education Initiative Grant (71108-502901) and National Science Foundation grant DIR 90-00810.

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Ferguson, C.J., Huber, S.C., Hong, P.H. et al. Determination for inflorescence development is a stable state, separable from determination for flower development in Pisum sativum L. buds. Planta 185, 518–522 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00202961

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Key words

  • Flower and inflorescence development (determination, inhibition)
  • Pisum (flower and inflorescence determination)