The wrinkled-seed character of pea described by Mendel is caused by a transposon-like insertion in a gene encoding starch-branching enzyme

Cell. 1990 Jan 12;60(1):115-22. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(90)90721-p.


We describe the cloning of the r (rugosus) locus of pea (Pisum sativum L.), which determines whether the seed is round or wrinkled. Wrinkled (rr) seeds lack one isoform of starch-branching enzyme (SBEI), present in round (RR or Rr) seeds. A major polymorphism in the SBEI gene between near-isogenic RR and rr lines shows 100% cosegregation with the r locus, establishing that the SBEI gene is at the r locus. An aberrant transcript for SBEI is produced in rr embryos. In rr lines the SBEI gene is interrupted by a 0.8 kb insertion that is very similar to the Ac/Ds family of transposable elements from maize. Failure to produce SBEI has complex metabolic consequences on starch, lipid, and protein biosynthesis in the seed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1,4-alpha-Glucan Branching Enzyme / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Base Sequence
  • Blotting, Northern
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Fabaceae / enzymology
  • Fabaceae / genetics*
  • Fabaceae / growth & development
  • Genes, Plant*
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Glucosyltransferases / genetics*
  • Immune Sera
  • Models, Genetic*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Seeds
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Immune Sera
  • DNA
  • Glucosyltransferases
  • 1,4-alpha-Glucan Branching Enzyme