Sperm identification in maize by fluorescence in situ hybridization

Liang Shi, Tong Zhu, H. Lloyd Mogensen, Paul Keim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The two sperm cells of common origin within the pollen tube of flowering plants are each involved in a fertilization event. It has long been recognized that preferential fusion of one sperm with the egg can occur in B chromosome-containing lines of maize. If the second pollen mitosis begins with a single B chromosome, nondisjunction will result in one sperm possessing two B chromosomes and the other containing no B chromosomes. The B chromosome-containing sperm most often fertilizes the egg, whereas the sperm nucleus with no B chromosomes fuses with the polar nuclei. Despite the obvious advantages of being able to recognize and then track, separate, and analyze one sperm type from the other, it has not been possible because of the lack of sufficient detectable differences between the two types of sperms. In this study, we used a B chromosome-specific DNA sequence (pZmBs) and in situ hybridization to identify and track the B chromosome-containing sperm cell within mature pollen and pollen tubes. Our results are consistent with conclusions from previous genetic studies related to B chromosome behavior during pollen formation. Within pollen tubes, the position in which the B chromosome-containing sperm travels (leading or trailing) in relation to the sperm cell lacking B chromosomes appears to be random.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-821
Number of pages7
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Sperm identification in maize by fluorescence in situ hybridization'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this