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Abiotic stresses like low temperatures are contributory factors to the variations observed among species during plant germination, growth, and development. The present study evaluated the morphological and genetic responses of maize (Zea mays L.) seedling to cold shock induced by a one-time exposure to low temperature. Seeds were originally exposed to distilled water at room temperature for 48 h before they were completely submerged in buckets of ice for 0.5, 1.5, 3, 6, and 12 h, respectively, and then transferred into Petri dishes. The set up was left on the laboratory bench for an additional 5 days, and plant germination parameters were measured. DNA was extracted and this was followed by RAPD—polymerase chain reaction. Significant growth impairment upon exposure to cold shock corresponding to the length of time of exposure was shown. The length of the prominent root significantly reduced upon exposure to a cold shock from 141.8 mm to as low as 91.4 mm in those plants exposed at 1.5 h. The length of the prominent leaf also significantly reduced from 100.6 mm in the control to between 62.6 and 85.5 mm in low-temperature-exposed plants (p < 0.05), notwithstanding the time of exposure. There were significant reductions in final germination percent in the low-temperature-exposed germinants (35.8–60.5%) when compared to the control (88.5%). The RAPD marker (OPA04) revealed variations in germinated maize seeds after treatment with different duration of low temperatures. The test plantlets treated for 0, 0.5, and 1.5 h have an unrecognizable complementary sequence to the primer OPA04, whereas the primer amplified regions of the genome of test plantlets treated for 3, 6, and 12 h. Primer OPA05 also presented diversity among maize seedlings stressed for various durations of cold shock. The existence of genetic variations in the present study has far-reaching effects on the development of maize exposed to varying degrees of cold stress. Though restricted to germination only, they are important because the development of plants begins at the germination stage. These changes may affect the characteristics of economic importance or perhaps impact on the physiology of the maize plant eventually.
Ikhajiagbe, B., Odenore, V. D., Ifie, J. E., Umeokeke, E. O., Loveniers, P.-J., & Enaruna, P. I. (2020). Variations in growth and genetic properties of Zea mays L. germinants exposed to cold shock. Bulletin of the National Research Centre, 44(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42269-020-00415-8