Maternal inheritance, a phenomenon extremely rare in plants, was observed in two mutants for rice storage protein in the starchy endosperm. When these mutants, 10/13a-L and 10/16-H, were crossed reciprocally with their original variety, Kinmaze, the F1 seeds in all crosses showed the same character as the maternal parent. The F2 seeds of the reciprocal crosses between Kinmaze and 10/13a-L were also of normal type, but those between Kinmaze and 10/16-H showed 10/16-H type. In 10/13a-L, the segregation ratio of F2 plants observed in F3 seeds showed a good fit to the expected 3:1 ratio, and in 10/16-H, the segregation ratio of F2 plants observed in F3 seeds showed a good fit to the expected 1:3 ratio. From the results of F1, F2 and F3 seeds, it was concluded that the mutants were expressed according to the genetic behaviour of material inheritance governed by plant genotype, and that 10/13a-L and 10/16-H were controlled by a single recessive and dominant gene, respectively. SDS-PAGE analysis indicated that both mutant genes were regulatory genes for the storage proteins. Based on the results of allelism tests, the genes for 10/13a-L and 10/16-H were designated as esp-3 and Esp-4, respectively. Since esp-1, the gene controlling the 13b-L, a mutant of rice storage protein, produces loss of the effect of maternal inheritance of esp-3, it is assumed that esp-1 is epistatic to esp-3.
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