Genetic and morphological characterization of the barley uniculm2 (cul2) mutant

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Axillary meristem growth and development help define plant architecture in barley (Hordeum vulgare L). Plants carrying the recessive uniculm2 (cul2) mutation initiate vegetative axillary meristem development but fail to develop tillers. In addition, inflorescence axillary meristems develop into spikelets, but the spikelets at the distal end of the inflorescence have an altered phyllotaxy and are sometimes absent. Double mutant combinations of cul2 and nine other recessive mutations that exhibit low to high tiller number phenotypes resulted in a uniculm vegetative phenotype. One exception was the occasional multiple shoots produced in combination with granum-a; a high tillering mutant that occasionally produces two shoot apical meristems. These results show that the CUL2 gene product plays a role in the development of axillary meristems into tillers but does not regulate the development of vegetative apical meristems. Moreover, novel double-mutant inflorescence phenotypes were observed with cul2 in combination with the other mutants. These data show that the wild-type CUL2 gene product is involved in controlling proper inflorescence development and that it functions in combination with some of the other genes that affect branching. Our genetic analysis indicates that there are genetically separate but not distinct regulatory controls on vegetative and inflorescence axillary development. Finally, to facilitate future positionally cloning of cul2, we positioned cul2 on chromosome 6(6H) of the barley RFLP map.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-857
Number of pages12
JournalTheoretical and Applied Genetics
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2003


  • Axillary meristem
  • Barley
  • Hordeum vulgare L.
  • Uniculm2

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