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Naming genes in hosta


Hi Andrew  
 THe naming of genes and its different forms ( alleles) is a funny  game
Actually nearly each and every species has its own system.  . The 
example you give is not very apropiate as leaf shape is likely  to have 
many genes involved ( that is why Mendel was so clever.He  did choose 
genes that clearly were present or absent and did not  give all kinds of
intermediate situations). Lets take another  example:white flowers as I 
have been crossing many plants with  white flowers. ( see my article in 
the journal about that subject)  First we have plantaginea Then we have 
H sieboldii Alba and its  many derivatives I found out that H yingeri 
Crystal Chimes has a  different gene for white and so has H rectifolia 
White Triumphater.  Now I have also a white flowering H minor. Only 
crossing will tell if  this is yet another gene To find out or a white 
gene is different from  say H sieboldii alba one must cross both .  Has 
the hyhbrid white  flowers then they have a mutation in the same gene If
the hybrid  has lilac flowers the two parents have mutations in 
different genes.  
OK now the name game I will leave out for the moment H  plantaginea as 
being a special case That leaves us with at least  three genes for white
in sieboldii rectifolia and yingeri ( and maybe  a fourth in minor). . I
propose the following system based on what I  have found most convenient
in different systems.First the gene is  named for is most obvious 
mutation i.e. white Best is to choose  three letters in all cases say 
whi. THe wild type or dominant  mutation has WHI and the usually 
recessive mutation is in  smallcap whi. Having three different genes we 
will have then whi A  for H sieboldii alba, whi B for H yingeri and whi 
C for H rectifolia. It  cannot be excluded that not all white flowering 
plants are derived  from sieboldii alba but still have a mutation in the
same gene. If  such a case arise numbering must take place so whi A-1 
for  sieboldii alba and whi A-2 for another allele of the same gene.  
It is also possible to choose more informative letters say whi S for  
sieboldii and whi R for rectifolia and whi Y for the white gene of  
Chrystal Chimes. ONly in that case if the white gene of H minor  turns 
out to be the same gene as in H sieboldii the name for the  white gene 
of H minor would be whi S-2 ! 
Any questions? just ask. 
 Ben J.M.Zonneveld Institute of Biology,Leiden University, Clusius lab  
Wassenaarse weg 64, 2333 AL Leiden, The Netherlands 
Zonneveld@rulbim.Leidenuniv.NL Fax: +31-71-5274999. min temp -10(-15)C 
(10F) 

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