Theoretical and Applied Genetics

, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 194–202 | Cite as

Is the polymorphism of protein amounts related to phenotypic variability? A comparison of two-dimensional electrophoresis data with morphological traits in maize

  • C. Damerval
  • Y. Hébert
  • D. de Vienne


The hypothesis that the quantitative variations in gene product levels could be a more important basis for morphological and adaptative change than the classical qualitative variability revealed by electrophoretic techniques was studied by comparing five maize lines from three sets of variables: (i) qualitative variations of proteins (presence/absence) revealed by two-dimensional polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (2D PAGE), at a physiological seedling stage; (ii) quantitative variations in proteins (spots more or less intense) revealed by 2D PAGE, at the same physiological stage; (iii) general combining abilities of fourteen heritable, morphological or agronomical characters measured at various juvenile and adult stages. Distances between lines were defined, based on qualitative and quantitative variations of proteins. These distances do not appear to be correlated and do not give the same patterns of divergence between lines, as shown by principal coordinate analyses. Mahalanobis distances computed from the general combining abilities of the morphological characters are significantly correlated (r=0.75) to quantitative but not to qualitative distances. The comparison of the first planes of the principal coordinate analyses performed on the three kinds of distances clearly confirms this finding. Our results are discussed in connection with the possible genetic meaning of the two molecular distances and with the hypothesis that regulatory processes are primarily implicated in morphological variation.

Key words

Maize Protein polymorphism Morphological variation Genetic distances Two-dimensional electrophoresis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. Damerval
    • 1
  • Y. Hébert
    • 2
  • D. de Vienne
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Génétique des Systèmes VégétauxCNRS-INRA-UPSGif-sur-YvetteFrance
  2. 2.Station d'Amélioration des Plantes FourragèresINRALusignanFrance

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