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Dominance and confusion

Chris.Somerville 21847CRS at MSU.EDU
Fri Sep 17 22:50:00 EST 1993

I was a member of the group that met in 1987 to establish an Arabidopsis
nomenclature. There were a number of very experienced geneticists at the
meeting and we had a lot of discussion about designating dominance. The
conclusion was that it was not a good idea for the kinds of reasons stated.
Having seen the system in use for some years now I am even more conviced that
we should not attempt to designate dominance because many people in the
community still have problems just figuring out the existing extremely simple
rules. If we were to start using a flexible convention such as Rich suggested,
the uniformed reader would only notice that there did not appear to be any
consistent usage and would just freelance.  I personally think this is an idea
that is backward looking rather than forward looking.  We are moving rapidly
toward having sophisticated databases for Arabidopsis. Given an unambiguous
gene symbol and an allele number, these databases will tell you everything
known about a gene, including all known dominance relationships. However,
databases will also have trouble with "flexible terminology" or with
superscripts, subscripts, digbats and other appendages. Therefore, my
suggestion would be that we not modify the nomenclature to indicate dominance.
Chris Somerville

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