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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Design of Life: Was Mendel wrong too?

Well, he could be, at least about some things.

Don't shoot! Look, no one expected that the human being would have only a few more genes than the worms that survived a space shuttle blowup and were returned to their owners. We could be wrong about lots of other things too.

Anyway, here's Jane Harris-Zsovan's story, just up at The Design of Life:
Lolle's 2005 paper with Robert Pruitt of Purdue University, Genome-wide non-mendelian inheritance of extra-genomic information in Arabidopsis", suggested that a mutant variety of this species overrides its genetic code and does indeed revert back to its wild state.

Starting in the 1990s, the researchers began using specimens of A. thaliana to study plant cuticles.

Lolle and Pruitt bred plants with a mutant gene called Hothead (HTH2). The plants used in their research received the HTH2 gene from both parents.

Hothead mutants have fused reproductive organs, making breeding with wild A. thaliana plants from outside their study unlikely. Lolle and Pruitt should have had only HTH2 mutants to conduct their future research with. That's not what happened.

Read more here.

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