|Coe, Jr, Edward - USDA-ARS RETIRED|
Submitted to: Maydica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 24, 2005
Publication Date: April 1, 2006
Citation: Coe, Jr, E.H., Schaeffer, M.L. 2006. Uncaging Mutants: Moving From Menageries to Menages. Maydica. 51(2):263-267. Interpretive Summary: The thousands of mutants of maize are a remarkable resource for the study of plant physiology, phylogeny, cell biology, biochemistry, development, molecular biology and in particular crop improvement. Ideally, scientists who are interested in particular biological systems will be helped by having systematically categorized descriptions for each mutant that would contribute to creative "mining" of this important genetic resource. Some essential description parameters can be posed that include Trait(s) affected by the mutant, Part(s) of the plant that the mutation impacts, growth Stage(s) that the mutant affects, Genetic and physical Map Location (important for breeders), Conditions Externally and Genetically that affect the mutant, and Developmental Consequences of the mutation. The effective use of mutant resources is a well accepted route to understanding gene function and considerable public and private resources have been dedicated to generating large collections. The systematic description of maize mutants and the establishment of a useful database will enhance our basic understanding of plant performance and stimulate creative plant breeding strategies for this important major crop. Facilitating the improvement of maize, while a model for basic research for over a century, it has, more importantly, contributed to food security, alternative fuel strategies, farm economy and manufacturing in the US.
Technical Abstract: The thousands of mutants of maize are a remarkable resource for study of plant physiology, phylogeny, cell biology, biochemistry, development, and molecular biology. Mutants are most often applied in research studies as "members of collections" rather than as select families of members relevant to the study. Ideally, biologists who are interested in particular systems will be aided by having systematically categorized descriptions that contribute toward creative mining of the resource. Some essential description parameters can be posed that include Trait(s), Part(s), Stage(s), Map Location, Conditions Externally and Genetically, and Developmental Consequences.