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Basis for the diversity of states of controlling elements in maize


In maize the insertion of a controlling element such as the regulatory element, En, (Enhancer) at a locus generates diverse derivatives. These derivatives include stable phenotypes that range from colorless to full color. Distinguishable patterns are determined by timing and frequency of mutation events. It has been hypothesized that diverse expressions are based either on position of the controlling element at the locus or composition differences among controlling elements. — Experiments with two target loci, A2 and C, indicate that the previous pattern of a controlling element does not influence the pattern generated at a new site. This finding supports the hypothesis that these diverse trans-effects of En are not caused by a change in the genetic information of En itself but rather by its position; diverse expressions are a manifestation of the effect of an element at a specific locus site. — Controlling elements are discussed in relation to chromosome structure, gene activation, gene programming and possible parallels in prokaryotes.

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Journal Paper No. J-8416 of the Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station, Ames, Iowa 50011. Project No. 1884. Support from NSF GB38328

Communicated by G. Melchers

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Peterson, P.A. Basis for the diversity of states of controlling elements in maize. Molec. Gen. Genet. 149, 5–21 (1976).

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  • Color
  • Maize
  • Gene Activation
  • Regulatory Element
  • Genetic Information