A candidate recombination modifier gene for Zea mays L.
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Maize meiotic mutant desynaptic (dy) was tested as a candidate recombination modifier gene because its effect is manifested in prophase I. Recombination rates for desynaptic (dy) and its wild type were compared in two ways: (1) segregation analysis using six linked molecular markers on chromosome 1L and (2) cytogenetic analysis using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH)-aided meiotic configurations observed in metaphase I. Chromosome 1L map lengths among the six linked markers were 45-63 cM for five F2 dy/dy plants, significantly lower than the wild-type F2 map distance of 72 cM. Chromosomes 2 and 6 were marked with rDNA FISH probes, and their map lengths were estimated from FISH-adorned meiotic configurations using the expectation-maximization algorithm. Chiasma frequencies for dy/dy plants were significantly reduced for both arms of chromosome 2, for chromosome arm 6L, and for eight unidentified chromosomes. There was a notable exception for the nucleolus-organizing region-bearing arm chromosome arm 6S, where dy increased chiasma frequency. Maize meiotic mutant desynaptic is a recombination modifier gene based on cytogenetic and segregation analyses.