Open Source Plant Breeding Forum

General Category => Plant Breeding => Topic started by: reed on 2019-08-10, 04:59:01 AM

Title: Inheritance of aleurone color in corn
Post by: reed on 2019-08-10, 04:59:01 AM
I have an ear of corn that has a lot of traits that I like BUT on that ear are a few kernels, less than 1% that show some color in the aleurone.  The plant was detasseled and pollinated by  colorless fathers so I know the color came from the mother. Also for two or three days before I  tasseled it but before it silked a little of it's pollen could have escaped and contaminated my other plants.

I don't want colored aleurone in my corn. Does any one know  the specifics on how it is inherited, is it dominant or recessive? How difficult might it be to eliminate it?
Title: Re: Inheritance of aleurone color in corn
Post by: Joseph Lofthouse on 2019-08-13, 11:25:28 PM

There are (at least) two genes involved in aleurone color. One says, "make some color". The other says "put some color in the aleurone". Therefore, the colored aleurone could have been inherited from the pollen, if the father plant provided the "make some color" gene which was lacking in the mother.

If the "make some color" gene and the "put some of the color in the aleurone" gene are both present in a kernel, then the aleurone will be colored. If either is missing, then it will be colorless.

So selecting for colorless aleurone can be iffy, because even if every selected aleurone is colorless, they might combine and produce a colored aleurone offspring. I treat it as a mass-selection project. Only plant seeds with colorless aleurone. And successively reduce the concentration of the "make color", and "put color" genes.
Title: Re: Inheritance of aleurone color in corn
Post by: reed on 2019-08-14, 06:11:27 AM
Thanks for the input Joseph, the plant in question originated I'm pretty sure from your Harmony mix. The plant itself had lots of color with purple stalks, tassels and cobs, that's part of what I like about it. Also just ten rows of big flinty looking kernels even though the fathers were more of a floury dent. I originally planted it because of a nice red chinmark pericarp that I wanted to mix in, the colorful stalks and row configuration were a happy surprise.

So the colorless aleurone fathers may have had one of the two required genes, interesting.  There are only five kernels on the ear that show the color and they are low down on the cob. So I suppose it is also possible a few silks peeked out before I detasseled and they got selfed. The chinmark pattern is very faint on some kernels, I guess because of jumping genes which I don't really understand and there are many apparently all white kernels.

I'm thinking if I select just those white kernels (or yellow, it has them too) and since the occurrence of the aleurone color is very low anyway and then just keep culling, it shouldn't take too long to get it to where I want. Especially since next year I'v arranged to fence and grow a much larger patch in my neighbors pasture. That will allow me to cull the entire ear of any I don't like rather than picking out particular kernels.