Cytoplasmic Male Sterility

  • C. S. LevingsIII
Part of the Basic Life Sciences book series (BLSC, volume 26)


The trait cytoplasmic male sterility (cms) is common in higher plants. Edwardson (1) reported that the cms trait had been observed in at least eighty unique plant species. Although the trait may manifest itself in different fashions among the various species, cms plants have in common the inability to produce viable pollen. In maize, plants are terminated by an inflorescence called the tassel. The tassel is composed of many male spikelets (flowers) which, at maturity, exert their anthers from which pollen is shed. The young male gametophyte is borne within the pollen grain. In its most severe manifestation (e.g., cms-T), the tassel of a cytoplasmic male-sterile plant does not exert anthers and no pollen is shed. Frequently, as in the case of the S sterile cytoplasm (cms-S), deformed anthers, termed “sticks”, are exerted. However, they contain only aborted pollen grains. The cms trait normally does not affect female fertility.


Mitochondrial Genome Male Sterility Cytoplasmic Male Sterility Male Fertility Pollen Fertility 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. S. LevingsIII
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeneticsNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA

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