Research ArticleAGRICULTURE

Control of sexuality by the sk1-encoded UDP-glycosyltransferase of maize

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Science Advances  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 10, e1600991
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600991


Sex determination in maize involves the production of staminate and pistillate florets from an initially bisexual floral meristem. Pistil elimination in staminate florets requires jasmonic acid signaling, and functional pistils are protected by the action of the silkless 1 (sk1) gene. The sk1 gene was identified and found to encode a previously uncharacterized family 1 uridine diphosphate glycosyltransferase that localized to the plant peroxisomes. Constitutive expression of an sk1 transgene protected all pistils in the plant, causing complete feminization, a gain-of-function phenotype that operates by blocking the accumulation of jasmonates. The segregation of an sk1 transgene was used to effectively control the production of pistillate and staminate inflorescences in maize plants.

  • Floral development
  • silkless 1 gene
  • sex determination
  • UDP-glycosyltransferase
  • jasmonic acid
  • plant hybrids

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