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A number of early flowering lines were induced when 5-azacytidine was applied to germinating flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) seed. The genetics of these lines indicate that the induced changes are epigenetic and probably result from demethylation of the genomic DNA at loci that affect flowering age. Although the growth and development of three stable early flowering lines are altered and the percentage of filled seed was reduced in all three lines compared with controls, measures of seed productivity demonstrated that harvest index was unaffected in two of the lines. In the third, harvest index was lower than normal and both seed set per capsule and seed mass per 100 seed were reduced. Furthermore, six generations after induction this line began to display relatively high levels of polyembryony. The late appearance of this twinning and other aspects related to working with lines induced by 5-azacytidine and using 5-azacytidine as an epimutagen are discussed.


This article was originally published in Canadian Journal of Botany, 77(11): 1617-1622. © 1999 National Research Council. Reproduced with permission