Shoot meristem: An ideal explant for Zea mays L. transformation

R. V. Sairam, M. Parani, G. Franklin, Z. Lifeng, B. Smith, J. MacDougall, C. Wilber, H. Sheikhi, N. Kashikar, K. Meeker, D. Al-Abed, K. Berry, R. Vierling, S. L. Goldman

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47 Scopus citations


We report on a rapid high-frequency somatic embryogenesis and plant regeneration protocol for Zea mays. Maize plants were regenerated from complete shoot meristem (3-4 mm) explants via organogenesis and somatic embryogenesis. In organogenesis, the shoot meristems were directly cultured on a high-cytokinin medium comprising 5-10 mg·L-1 6-benzylaminopurine (BAP). The number of multiple shoots produced per meristem varied from six to eight. Plantlet regeneration through organogenesis resulted in just four weeks. Callus was induced in five days of incubation on an auxin-modified Murashige and Skoog (MS) medium. Prolific callus, with numerous somatic embryos, developed within 3-4 weeks when cultured on an auxin medium containing 5 mg 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid·L-1. The number of multiple shoots varied from three to six per callus. Using R23 (Pioneer, Hi-Bred, Johnston, Iowa), the frequency of callus induction was consistently in excess of 80% and plant regeneration ranged between 47 and 64%. All regenerated plantlets survived in the greenhouse and produced normal plants. Each transgenic plant produced leaves, glumes, and anthers that uniformly expressed green fluorescent protein (GFP). The GFP gene segregated in the pollen. Based on this data it is concluded that the transgenics arose from single-cell somatic embryos. The rate of transfer DNA (T-DNA) transfer to complete shoot meristems of Zea mays was high on the auxin medium and was independent of using super-virulent strains of Agrobacterium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)323-329
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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