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Thu Jul 11 10:58:32 EST 1991

                       Subject:                               Time:8:25 AM
  OFFICE MEMO          Nomenclature                           Date:7/11/91
  I hope that members of this group can come up with some good ideas about how
to avoid redundancy and confusion in genetic nomenclature, as particular issues
arise.  One general class of inevitable nomenclature problems is that the best
name for a given gene or set of mutations often changes as more information
becomes available.
  We have tryptophan-requiring mutants that have been named sequentially as
they were identified (ie trp1, trp2 and trp3).  More recently, we have been
isolating structural genes that appear to correspond to the targets for these
mutations (ie TSB1 is the trp synthase beta subunit structural gene affected in
the trp2-1 mutant).   
  Should we change the name of the trp2 alleles to tsb1 alleles?  The advantage
of the tsb1 nomenclature is that it tells you which enzyme is affected in the
mutant.  However, the trp2 nomenclature provides information about the
phenotype associated with the mutant genotype (trp requirement).  
  If this was the whole story, I would feel comfortable staying with the trp1,
trp2, trp3 nomenclature (as microbial geneticists have done for years).  A
further complication is that there are two genes for trp synthase beta
isoenzymes: TSB1 and TSB2.  No matter whether we maintain the trp2 nomenclature
for TSB1 mutations we are left calling the second gene TSB2, because, so far
there are no mutations identified in TSB2.  The disadvantage to continued use
of the dual TSB1/TSB2 and trp2 designations is that the redundancy could be
quite confusing to people not familiar with the literature.

  Please direct any comments/suggestions directly to the bboard.

Rob Last
Boyce Thompson Institute

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