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transgene nomenclature

rajorgensen at UCDAVIS.EDU rajorgensen at UCDAVIS.EDU
Sat Sep 18 18:02:08 EST 1993

In a side conversation, Chris Somerville and I have been discussing the need 
for better transgene nomenclature. Chris suggested that I have a go at 
listing some proposals for discussion here.  Here goes:

1) Transgene loci are identified as such by the prefix "t" (by analogy to the
bacterial plasmid "p" designation).

Example:  a chalcone synthase transgene would be t-chs (or tchs or t.chs?)

2) Because transgenes can insert at many loci, each is distinguished 
numerically as t-chs1 through t-chs1000 and beyond.

3) Because one can construct an infinite number of chs transgene variations 
(different promoters, different linked drug markers, etc), there has to be a 
mechanism to avoid two labs using the same designation.  Thus, symbols and 
blocks of numbers would be registered with the database (i.e., applied for 
and assigned).  Thus, Fred Ausebel might be assigned t-chs1-100 and Joe 
Schmo, t-chs101-110.  (Note: This is exactly what was adopted by bacterial 
geneticists in 1976 for plasmid nomenclature.  Unfortunately, e-mail was not 
available to "spread the word" and to make the process of registering symbols 
painless. As the field exploded, the system was overrun; hence many 
constructs were called things such as, p12X/lac-4bnptII#1, and that sort of 
nonsense (which looks a lot like many transgene designations in plants).)

4) Transgene loci should be assigned symbols only when genetically 
characterized as single Mendelian loci. 

5) Transgene alleles can be designated by the same rules as for endogenous 
genes, e.g., t-chs210-4.  

6) Symbols can be any three letter combination followed by one or more


Rich Jorgensen

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