Meeting Abstract

S8-2.1  Friday, Jan. 6  Genetic Contingency: Intergrating genetic background and environment into the study of mutational effects. DWORKIN, Ian; Michigan State University

In genetic analysis, it is well known that the observed phenotype is not only a function of a given mutation, but also the influences of the genetic background in which it occurs, and the environment in which the organism is reared. Yet, in most genetic analyses such influences are often removed from consideration (via studying in a single environment in an isogenic background), or worse, ignored. When such influences are explicitly considered, and allowed to vary experimentally, only the phenotypic consequences of the focal mutation are generally considered. However, to date it has been rare to consider other important aspects of the mutations, such as the ordering of allelic effects (allelic series), complementation among alleles, pleiotropy and epistasis. In this talk I will discuss recent work in our lab examining the context dependent nature of genetic effects, and discuss it within the context of considering the expressivity of mutations as quantitative traits, themselves amenable to genetic analysis.