A forward looking protocol

29 April 2017 - By: Jim Ruddock

A forward looking protocol

By Jim Ruddock, Managing Editor

Rapid identification of lettuce seed germination mutants by bulked segregant analysis and whole genome sequencing.


Huo H, Henry IM, Coppoolse ER, Verhoef- Post M, Schut JW, de Rooij H, Vogelaar A, Joosen RV, Woudenberg L, Comai L, Bradford KJ (2016)

The Plant Journal 88, 345–360

Forward genetics has the potential to be highly useful for the identification of genes associated with specific phenotypes. Protocols can be devised to efficiently screen mutagenized populations for phenotypes of interest. However, subsequently identifying the specific gene(s) responsible for the selected phenotype(s) can be slow, laborious and expensive in crop plants with long generation times, large genomes and limited sequence data. Huo et al. describe a sophisticated genetic analysis in the identification of a gene for seed germination in an important crop (Lactuca sativa) using allelic mutants that show enhanced germination under high temperatures. The authors used bulk segregant analysis by whole genome sequencing (BSA sequencing) of progeny obtained from crosses made between two allelic mutants to identify mutations in the ABA1 gene for both mutants. They also used traditional mapping to map the alleles to the same genomic region, complementing the mutant phenotype with a wild type copy of the gene and measuring ABA levels in the mutants. This genetic analysis allowed the authors to demonstrate that they had identified the causal mutations. Using the process described, Huo et al. claim that the time required to identify a causal locus can be at least halved, and also that it considerably reduces the amount of genomic sequencing required. As such this protocol will considerably increase the efficiency, and reduce the time and cost involved, in applying forward genetics in the identification of important traits relevant for industry.


Category: Journals
Jim Ruddock

Jim Ruddock

Jim Ruddock is the Editorial Manager for The Plant Journal and Plant Biotechnology Journal, and manages all processes of each journal through the peer review system – from submission to acceptance and export of final files to the Production department. Currently at Wiley, Jim has 23 year’s of experience working in science journal publishing environments in various capacities.