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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Pullman, Washington » Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331164

Research Project: Management of Plant Genetic Resources and Associated Information

Location: Plant Germplasm Introduction and Testing Research

Title: From Mendel’s discovery on pea to today´s plant genetics and breeding

Author
item Smykal, Petr - Palacky University
item Varsheny, Rajeev - International Crops Research Institute For Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) - India
item Singh, Vikas - International Crops Research Institute For Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) - India
item Coyne, Clarice - Clare
item Domoney, Claire - John Innes Center
item Kejnovsky, Eduard - Academy Of Sciences Of The Czech Republic (ASCR)
item Warkentin, Thomas - University Of Saskatchewan

Submitted to: Theoretical and Applied Genetics
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/31/2016
Publication Date: 10/11/2016
Citation: Smykal, P., Varsheny, R., Singh, V., Coyne, C.J., Domoney, C., Kejnovsky, E., Warkentin, T. 2016. From Mendel’s discovery on pea to today´s plant genetics and breeding. Theoretical and Applied Genetics. doi: 10.1007/s00122-016-2803-2.

Interpretive Summary: In 2015 we celebrate 150 years of the seminal work of Gregor Johann Mendel with the publication of the laws of inheritance. Mendel’s was at first largely ignored or not understood. Mendel’s plant hybridization research was cited eleven times beginning in 1865 but it was fully rediscovered and its essence understood in 1900, 34 years after its publication. Mendel’s insights have been thoroughly tested and became the solid basis of the new the discipline of genetics described by both Weldon and Bateson in 1902. From then on Mendel’s work was widely discussed and meticulously analyzed by Fisher in1936. Although biology, genetics and mainly genomics have been revolutionized in recent years, modern genetics will forever rely on principles of heredity founded on pea (Pisum sativum L.) using seven single gene characters. Mendel was not the first to choose pea as an experimental model, however he was the first to apply precise mathematical principles to a biological situation.

Technical Abstract: In 2015 we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the presentation of the seminal work of Gregor Johann Mendel. While Darwin's theory was based on differential survival and differential reproductive success, Mendel's on equality throughout all stages of the life cycle. Darwin's concepts were continuous variation, mutation, and "soft" heredity; Mendel espoused discontinuous variation and "hard" heredity. Although biology, genetics, and genomics have been revolutionized in recent years, modern genetics will forever rely on simple principles founded on pea breeding using seven single gene characters. Purposeful use of mutants to study gene function is one of the essential tools of modern genetics. Today over one hundred plant species genomes have been sequenced, assisted by the implementation of next generation sequencing technologies. Fundamental plant science is increasingly becoming a collaborative domain with projects including physics, mathematics and chemistry. This is largely fueled by the last decade's technical advances, allowing for more discoveries but also creating new challenges, such as data storage, analysis, and prediction. The development of mapping populations, segregation of molecular markers and marker-trait association to map and isolate genes were developed on the basis of Mendel´s work. Genome-wide or genomic selection is a recent approach for development of improved breeding lines. The analysis of complex traits has been enhanced by developments in statistical and modeling methods for the analysis of phenotypic data. Introgression of novel alleles from landraces and wild relatives widens genetic diversity, transgenic approaches allow for the introduction of novel genes from diverse sources, and gene editing approaches.