The B chromosomes of maize typically undergo nondisjunction during the second microspore division (generative cell division). When the microspore nucleus contains only one B chromosome, two kinds of sperm result, one with two B chromosomes and one with no B chromosomes. The sperm with the B chromosomes preferentially fertilizes the egg cell. Previous studies of these phenomena have been limited to genetic analysis and chromosome spreads. In this study we show that a B chromosome-specific probe can be used with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis to detect the presence, location, and frequency of B chromosomes in intact interphase nuclei within mature pollen of maize. Using genetic line TB-10L18, our results indicate that nondisjunction of the B centromere occurs at an average frequency of 56.6%, based on four plants and 1306 pollen grains analyzed. This is consistent with the results of genetic studies using the same B-A translocation. In addition, our results suggest that B chromosome nondisjunction can occur during the first microspore division. Spatial distribution of the B chromosome-specific probe appears to be largely confined to one tip of the sperm nucleus, and a DNA fragment found outside the pollen nuclei often hybridizes to the B chromosome-specific probe.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||7|
|State||Published - Dec 1 1997|
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