Zein Diversity in Reid, Lancaster, and Illinois Chemical Corn Strains Revealed by Isoelectric Focusing
Zeins, the major storage proteins in corn (Zea mays L.) endosperms, consist of a large number of related polypeptides. At least 41 different AB-(a) zeins, detected by isoelectric focusing, have previously been found in Corn Belt inbreds. This study examines the variability of zeins in ‘Reid Yellow Dent’, ‘Lancaster Sure Crop’, and eight lllinois chemical strains. Individual seeds of Reid and Lancaster contained 8 to 16 bands each. Segregation occurred for most zeins, with totals of 26 and 25 bands, respectively, in the two open-pollinated varieties. However, every zein band had been found in a previously studied inbred. Isoelectric focusing of zein also revealed that variation still exists in the lllinois chemical strains, even after 82 generations of selection. Each strain contained 8 to 15 identifiable zein proteins, with 2 to 8 showing segregation within a strain. The reverse high-oil strain showed segregation for 8 of 13 zeins, whereas the reverse low-oil and reverse high-protein strains showed segregation for only 2 zeins. When the results from all eight chemical strains were totaled (partially representing the original Burr's White open-pollinated variety), there was nearly as much zein variation as in Reid and Lancaster.
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