The ability to form functionally active chloroplasts is determined at a certain early stage of leaf development in three non‐allelic temperature‐sensitive virescent mutants of rice. Temperature‐shift analysis, together with anatomical observations, indicates that the intrinsic developmental signals of the virescent genes are expressed at the stage immediately following the formation of basic leaf structure, but just before the onset of leaf elongation. These signals control the expression of chloroplast‐encoded genes but do not affect the subsequent morphological development of the leaf or the photo‐regulation of the expression of nuclear genes encoding chloroplast proteins.
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