Genetically engineered tomato

Brian Hachey hacheyb at
Mon Feb 13 13:16:00 EST 1995

In article <Pine.SOL.3.91.950212214546.18636D-100000 at corona> Patrick O'Neil <patrick at corona> writes:

> From: Patrick O'Neil <patrick at corona>
> Newsgroups: bionet.plants
> Date: Sun, 12 Feb 1995 21:56:42 -0700
> Organization: University Of Utah Computer Center

[Stuff related to the original thread deleted]

> If, on the other hand, 
> you grow that transformed bacteria in non-ampicillin media for a week or 
> so - let's say, to be safe, three weeks - at the end of that time, you 
> will most likely find no bacteria resistent to the antibiotic.  The gene 
> will have mutated, and why not?  There is nothing selecting for a 
> functional copy of the gene.  Moreover, the entire plasmid that harbored 
> the gene in the first place is liable to be lost entirely unless it 
> carries another gene that gives selective advantage in the circumstances 
> within which the bacteria finds itself.  My long-winded reply is meant to 
> state that the threat is still minimal since the genes for antibiotic 
> resistence are not "coded in stone" and they mutate into nothingness when 
> no antibiotic is present within relatively few turnovers.

I find this quite interesting, but unfortunately I have very little
knowledge about the subject.  That being the case, I hope you'll forgive
these possibly ignorant questions.  Do genes really mutate that quickly?
What is the mutation rate and what is the average redundancy in a
gene?  I suppose my question really boils down to, given a medium
which does not favour a specific gene, what is the average number of
generations needed for that gene to be mutated out?  Also, if the
number of generations is small, I suppose that most macroscopic
organisms have lots and lots of redundant genes...  Hmm...  I suppose
I really should read an intro to genetics.  Any suggestions?

             Thanks for the info,

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