Methodology in Basic Genetics

Methodology in Basic Genetics

Methodology in Basic Genetics

Methodology in Basic Genetics

Excerpt

Genetic mechanisms have been clarified in the past by examining heredity in diverse groups of organisms with greater knowledge emergent from comparative scrutiny than would have been possible otherwise. This experience now provides one means for evaluating reproduction at the molecular level. The gene itself has yielded to probing, so that the functional unit is now regarded in terms of codons, cistrons, pseudo-alleles, etc.; and, since recombination has not proved always to be a reciprocal event, copy-choice and genie conversion conform to certain analytical experience. Studies on the genetics of microorganisms have been particularly useful in demonstrating episomal relationships and bringing about freedom from conceptual conformity suggested by the more stylized means of fertilization, meiosis, and mitosis in higher metazoa. A beginning has also been made in determining how genic action leads to phenotype and events in differentiation. For example, recent work on invertebrate hormones suggests that humoral mechanisms may be involved in the differential initiation of genic action and transfer of coded message to cytoplasm with enhancement of the rate of protein synthesis at the ribosomal level. As the genetic code is confirmed for individual organisms and biochemical events, mechanisms of heredity can be analyzed with a degree of precision not possible in the past. The methods for manipulating organisms, chromosomes, and biological events to the advantage of the investigator are essential ingredients for taking advantage of these opportunities for research in an era of exceedingly rapid progress in acquiring genetic information. The arrangement adopted for presentation of pertinent methodology in this volume combines a survey of the present status of knowledge and methods with discussions by qualified investigators. The material has been organized into presentations about mutation and recombination, gene-protein relationships, and cytoplasmic inheritance, with individual chapters devoted to the status of these subjects in viruses, bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and Drosophila. It is hoped that the collection will be of value from instructive and heuristic as well as historic viewpoints.

WALTER J. BURDETTE Chairman, Genetics Study Section

Salt Lake City, Utah March, 1963 . . .

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