B chromosome behavior in maize pollen as determined by a molecular probe

Losoff M. Rusche, H. Mogensen, Liang Shi, Paul Keim, Mireille Rougier, Annie Chaboud, Christian Dumas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1915-1921
Number of pages7
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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