Appropriate Gene Symbols in Teaching Genetics

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Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science, Vol: 92, Issue: 3, Page: 115-118

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Miller, Wilmer J.
Gene symbols; teaching genetics; wild type
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Choice of appropriate gene symbols in teaching general genetics avoids misinterpretation and misleading conclusions that are otherwise frequent. Lack of consistency in textbooks, especially with the wild-type standard concept, misdirects the student into confusing dominance with epistasis, as well as allelism with independence. The similar fallacy of ”dominant" white in White Leghorns is clarified as an "interaction" white by appropriate choice of symbols. Use of the wild-type standard method, basic in choosing symbols, allows a drastic reduction in the number of crosses necessary in comparing different stocks for genetic differences. Two related sets of rules are suggested for choosing appropriate gene symbols.