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Looking for standard naming conventions for Hosta alleles

  • Subject: Looking for standard naming conventions for Hosta alleles
  • From: "Andrew Lietzow" alietzow@myfamily.com
  • Date: 10 Nov 2003 20:37:17 -0700

Dear Hosta Open'ers, 

Over two years ago, on Mar 22, 2001 to be precise, I posed the question:  "Has anyone begun the process of sequencing and isolating genes that influence coloration in Hosta?" To which Ben Zonnevel wisely replied, "No one will do that It is far too expensive. Moreover the amount of DNA in an average hosta is about 100 times higher than in Arabidopis!"   Subsequently, I took a workshop on lab techniques required for DNA sequencing analysis and I tend to agree with Ben that I don't have the resources to sequence the Hosta genome.  :-(  (Though finding appropriate microsatellites as a starting point has not been ruled out! by this lay researcher).  

This was part of a discussion regarding Hosta genetics, particularly Hosta alleles, chromosomal mapping, mitotic recombination, transposable elements, the origin of Hosta chimeras and mutations, etc.  The archive shows that it was much fun and lots of dialogue (bantering?) took place that did shed some light on the subject.   Joe Halinar recommended studying Medelian Genetics for a bit; I followed his advise.   I examined it so much that I discovered, much to my chagrin, that transmission genetics for the Genus Hosta does not always comply with the rules of Mendelian genetics  but more on that later.   

My current question is, "Has anyone on the planet developed naming conventions for the various Hosta alleles, and/or genes"?   

I know that WGS has done an excellent job of establishing (and where already established, compiling) a taxonomic classification scheme for the phenotype of Hosta; information made public in the indispensible, de facto standard on Hosta classification and nomenclature, "The Genus Hosta".   (Now and then I simply have to plug this book as it is the absolute best for both the beginner and the advanced student of the Genus).  For those who don't have it, put it on your Christmas list!   

From a genetic analysis viewpoint, however, these traits should have allelic acronymns.  There is an old Chinese saying, "The correct naming of things is the beginning of wisdom", and this is certainly true in the case of genes.   See for example, <a href="http://skonops.imbb.forth.gr/AnoBase/names.html";>RULES AND CONVENTIONS FOR NAMING GENES IN ANOPHELINES</a> (mosquitos).  

Take, for example leaf shape.  For the sake of discussion, let's assume there is but one gene involved.  The gamete from the pollen parent would provide a single allele that would support but one of several phenotypical characteristics available in the Hosta population: 1) Strap leaf, 2) Lanceolate, 3) Ovate, 4) Cordate, or 5) Round.   For the gene(s?) that controls this characteristic, it would prove most helpful if there was a standard naming convention for these 5 alleles.   We could do this for all of the other classification criteria; flower color, flower shape, leaf topography, and my personal favorite, leaf color, etc.   

Does such a list exist?   Are the Isozymes, like the 27 investigated by Myong Gi Chung in 1995, listed somewhere for Hosta?  I have not seen such a list but maybe one of our Hosta-Open'ers is aware of such?  

Andrew Lietzow  

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