Quantifying Zea mays L tassel development and correlation with anther developmental stages as a guide for experimental studies


In the study of Zea mays L early anther development, anther length is tightly correlated with developmental stage over the initial eight days of ontogeny. The developing tassel is enveloped inside the whorl of developing leaves, and the pace of its growth is environmentally sensitive. Determining the size of a young tassel without sacrific- ing the plant remains difficult. This obstacle can present problems when trying to study pre-meiotic and meiotic stages of anther development in planta or when conducting sequential sampling from the same tassel. In this study a range of exterior characteristics (leaf number, stem circumference, and tassel height above the soil line) were measured and correlated with tassel length. Anther lengths at seven tassel locations were also measured to correlate tassel length with anther development at these locations. Results indicate that tassel length can occupy a wide-range for a given exterior measurement, but also that anther development at specific tassel locations is highly reproducible for a tassel of known length. This information provides a useful guide for the study of anther development in the context of the maize tassel.


tassel, anther, development, maize, pre-meiotic

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