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The Isolation and Culture in Vitro of the Quiescent Center of Zea mays

Lewis J. Feldman and John G. Torrey
American Journal of Botany
Vol. 63, No. 3 (Mar., 1976), pp. 345-355
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2441580
Page Count: 11
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The Isolation and Culture in Vitro of the Quiescent Center of Zea mays
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Abstract

Using 3-day-old seedling roots of Zea mays L., cv. Kelvedon 33, it was possible to remove the root cap by a simple surgical manipulation without damage to the root proper By a further small cut, the quiescent center (QC) itself was isolated. This double-convex lens-shaped tissue piece 100 x 250 μm is composed of 1000-1500 cells representing only 0.25 mm3 in volume. The explant was demonstrated unequivocally by 3H-thymidine incorporation before excision and then by autoradiography to be composed of the specific cells usually designated the quiescent center. Using sterile techniques, the QC's were placed on nutrient agar slants and allowed to grow in culture. Of a number of nutrient media tested, only a medium supplemented with organic nitrogen components, indoleacetic acid, kinetin and inorganic nutrients plus sucrose (S2M + K -2,4-D) was effective in eliciting development. Thirty to 40 percent of the 150 isolated QC's grown on this medium formed elongated roots, up to 2 cm in length in 3-4 weeks. Roots developing on agar medium showed in their proximal portion a vascular pattern with 5-6 metaxylem elements or variations of this pattern, but as the root elongated, the vascular pattern was progressively reduced in complexity at the more distal end to a small central group of metaxylem elements. When agar-grown roots were transferred after one week in culture to a liquid nutrient medium of the same composition, the initially reduced vascular pattern evident in the proximal tissues became progressively more complex in the distal portion of the root and after 2 cm of elongation, showed an essentially normal primary vascular tissue pattern characteristic of the seedling root.

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