Cell-lineage patterns in the shoot apical meristem of the germinating maize embryo

Planta. 1988 Jul;175(1):13-22. doi: 10.1007/BF00402877.


A fate map for the shoot apical meristem of Zea mays L. at the time of germination was constructed by examining somatic sectors (clones) induced by γ-rays. The shoot apical meristem produced stem, leaves, and reproductive structures above leaf 6 after germination and the analysis here concerns their formation. On 160 adult plants which had produced 17 or 18 leaves, 277 anthocyanin-deficient sectors were scored for size and position. Sectors found on the ear shoot or in the tassel most often extended into the vegetative part of the plant. Sectors ranged from one to six internodes in length and some sectors of more than one internode were observed at all positions on the plant. Single-internode sectors predominated in the basal internodes (7,8,9) while longer sectors were common in the middle and upper internodes. The apparent number of cells which gave rise to a particular internode was variable and sectors were not restricted to the lineage unit: a leaf, the internode below it, and the axillary bud and prophyll at the base of the internode. These observations established two major features of meristem activity: 1) at the time of germination the developmental fate of any cell or group of cells was not fixed, and 2) at the time of germination cells at the same location in a meristem could produce greatly different amounts of tissue in the adult plant. Consequently, the developmental fate of specific cells in the germinating meristem could only be assigned in a general way.