Research Bulletin (Iowa Agriculture and Home Economics Experiment Station)


Dent and sweet varieties of corn (maize) are sharply differentiated in the chemical constitution of their seed, especially in relative amounts of sugars, dextrins, starches and fat. This fact, together with our knowledge of the mechanism of heredity in this species, provides an excellent background for an exact. determination of the mode of inheritance of these chemical characters. Another advantage in the genetic analysis, lies in the precise, cellular mechanism of double fertilization in the embryo sac whereby the endosperm tissue is developed as the result of a triple fushion of nuclei, two from the female and one from the male parent. This nuclear behavior permits a detailed comparison of the influence of one, two or three doses of genetic factors for any endosperm characters, including the chemical characters involved in these investigations. A thoro genetic study of endosperm factors controlling aleurone and endosperm color has demonstrated beyond reasonable doubt that their inheritance is typically Mendelian in nature. It becomes of immediate interest to determine whether chemical characters, from the quantitative standpoint, obey the same rules of inheritance as do the qualitative characters of the endosperm noted above.



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