Maize develops male and female flowers in different locations on the plant. Male flowers develop at the tip of the shoot in the tassel, and female flowers express on the ears, which terminate short branches. The development of male flowers in tassels and female flowers in ears is the result of selective arrest and abortion of the inappropriate organ primordia within a bisexual floral meristem. Genetics analysis has shown that stamen abortion and pistil abortion are under the control of feminizing genes and masculinizing genes. Biochemical and genetic evidence suggests that sexual organ identities in maize are orchestrated by two closely related C function genes, ZAG 1and ZMM 2. The presence of two C function genes, feminizing genes and masculinizing genes in sex determination, raises the possibility that these gene products may also cooperate to regulate programs of sexual differentiation. We present a hypothetical model to account for such cooperative interactions.
Journal of Agricultural Biotechnology