A rice heterochronic mutant, mori1, is defective in the juvenile-adult phase change
We have identified five recessive allelic mutations, mori1-1 to mori1-5, which drastically modify the shoot architecture of rice. The most remarkable feature of mori1 plants is a rapid production of small leaves and short branches. The mori1 plants are about 5 cm in height even 7 months after sowing. No reproductive growth was attained in mori1 plants even if inductive short-day treatment was applied. Leaves of mori1 at any position were very small and the size and shape were comparable to
... comparable to those of the wild-type 2nd leaf. The stem of mori1 7 months after sowing did not differentiate node and internode and had randomly oriented vascular bundles, which were characteristic of the basal part of the wild-type stem where 2nd and 3rd leaves were inserted. These structural characteristics indicate that mori1 maintains the 2nd-leaf stage (juvenile phase) of the wild type. The short plastochron and high cell division activity in the shoot apical meristem further confirmed the juvenility of mori1, corresponding to the 2nd-leaf-differentiation stage in the wild-type embryo. Furthermore, the apparent photosynthetic rate in mori1 leaves was low as in the wild-type 2nd leaf. Thus, mori1 is a heterochronic mutation that suppresses the induction of adult phase and the termination of the juvenile phase. Therefore, MORI1 plays an important role in the juvenile-adult phase change. The importance of heterochronic mutations in modifying shoot architecture is discussed.