PNL Volume 14
A Proposal for Establishing a Standard or Wildtype Genotype of Pisum
It is a common practice among geneticists working with various or-
ganisms to designate one particular genotype as the standard, "normal"
or wildtype, one to which all other stocks are compared. For Drosophila
the selection of such a genotype was not unduly difficult since wildtype
populations exist. For cultivated plants, however, the problem is less
straightforward. It is not possible to cite one specific genotype of
Pisum as representing the "normal" form. A similar problem exists for
tomatoes, but since there are clear advantages to establishing a stan-
dard genotype, the tomato geneticists, undaunted, have chosen the
cultivar 'Marglobe' as their "wildtype".
Pisum workers have not yet formally adopted a standard genotype.
Still, most of us have our own conception of the standard genotype, and,
for the majority of genes, there is not much dispute among Pisum workers
about which is the mutant and which is the wildtype allele.
A committee therefore has reviewed the genetic constitution of the
lines held in the Weibullsholm collection, and has concluded that WL-180
is the line that best qualifies as the archetypal pea, at least for
purposes of genetic studies. WL-110 previously was adopted as the stan-
dard structural line for cytogenetic studies. WL-180, like WL-110, has
the standard karyotype.
The committee invites criticism of the proposal to establish WL-180
as the standard genetic line. Members may wish to consult Blixt, S.
1978. Agri Hort. Genet. 36:56-87 for a list (not complete) of alleles
considered to be wildtype. Address comments either to S. Blixt or
G. A. Marx.