Mutagenesis – the Key to Genetic Analysis

  • M. G. Neuffer
  • Guri Johal
  • M. T. Chang
  • Sarah Hake

Mutagenesis is a major key to understanding gene function. Most chapters in this book take advantage of mutant alleles to advance the knowledge of maize traits. The chemical mutagen, EMS, has been particularly important because it has a very high efficiency and can be used in any genetic background. EMS also generates half-plant chimeras, which have interesting consequences for lethal dominant mutations. Although dominant mutants are often considered gain-of-function abnormalities, from analysis of thousands of mutants, it appears that most dominants mimic a set of recessive mutants. Examples in which the genes have been cloned demonstrate that a gene defined by a dominant mutation often functions in the same pathway as the gene defined by a recessive mutation with similar phenotype. We present an historical perspective of EMS mutagenesis and discuss frequencies of different types of mutations. Two types of dominant mutants that appear frequently and have recessive counterparts are described in more detail.


Quantitative Trait Locus Recessive Mutation Dominant Mutant Seedling Mutant Knox Gene 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Agronomy, Curtis HallUniversity of MissouriColumbia
  2. 2.Dept of Botany and Plant PathologyPurdue UniversityWest Lafayette
  3. 3.Plant Gene Expression Center, USDA-ARS

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