Paramutation in Maize and Related Allelic Interactions

  • G. I. Patterson
  • V. L. Chandler
Part of the Current Topics in Microbiology and Immunology book series (CT MICROBIOLOGY, volume 197)


Paramutation has been defined as an interaction between alleles that leads to a mitotically and meiotically heritable change in one of the alleles at high frequency (Brink 1973). In the cases in which the gene function is known, it is clear that paramutation leads to reduction but not loss of phenotypic expression of the affected allele. We will discuss the genetic properties of paramutation of the maize genes b, r, and pl and review recent characterization of the effect of paramutation on gene expression and structure. As we review paramutation, we will compare apparently related phenomena, including: (1) recently described interactions between transgenes and endogenous genes in plants that lead to gene silencing, (2) interactions between transposable elements of plants that lead to heritable changes in gene expression, and (3) transvection in Drosophila and heritable epigenetic effects on gene expression in animals and fungi. For a thorough review of earlier literature on paramutation of b, r, and the handful of other examples of paramutation in plants, we refer the reader to previous reviews (Brink 1964, 1973; Brink etal. 1968; Coe 1966).


Transposable Element Epigenetic Change Mutant Derivative Heritable Change Anthocyanin Pathway 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. I. Patterson
    • 1
    • 2
  • V. L. Chandler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Molecular BiologyUniversity of OregonEugeneUSA
  2. 2.Department of Molecular BiologyMassachusetts General HospitalBostonUSA

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