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3 Brief Communications Arising

Nature 443, E8 (28 September 2006) | doi:10.1038/nature05251; Published online 27 September 2006

Plant genetics: Increased outcrossing inhothead mutants

Peng Peng1,2, Simon W.-L. Chan2,3, Govind A. Shah2 & Steve E. Jacobsen1,2

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Arising from: S. J. Lolle, J. L. Victor, J. M. Young & R. E. Pruitt Nature 434, 505–509 (2005); Lolle et alreply

Lolle et al.1 report that loss-of-function alleles of the HOTHEAD (HTH) gene in Arabidopsis thaliana are genetically unstable, giving rise to wild-type revertants. On the basis of the reversion of many other genetic markers in hth plants, they suggested a model in which a cache of extragenomic information could cause genes to revert to the genotype of previous generations. In our attempts to reproduce this phenomenon, we discovered that hth mutants show a marked tendency to outcross (unlike wild-type A. thaliana, which is almost exclusively self-fertilizing2). Moreover, whenhth plants are grown in isolation, their genetic inheritance is completely stable. These results may provide an alternative explanation for the genome wide non-mendelian inheritance reported by Lolle et al.

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