MUTATION, A MICROCOMPUTER MODULE DESIGNED FOR PLANT BREEDING AND GENETICS

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  • 1 USDA, ARS, Department of Horticulture, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI. 53706.

A teaching module was developed for computer-aided instruction of mutation theory. The Hypercard-driven, Macintosh compatible module illustrates the concepts of: 1) Changes in allele frequency with mutation pressure; 2) Number of alleles maintained in populations, and; 3) The Neutrality Hypothesis. The concepts are integrated in an application by using a game format.

Mutation is the ultimate source of genetic variation. Mutation pressure results in changes in allele frequency. Concept 1 illustrates the theoretical changes in allele frequency under pressure of reversible mutation. Mutation equilibrium is depicted as P=V/u+v; where v=mutation rates of allele A and u of allele a. The Infinite-Alleles Model of mutation is illustrated in Concept 2 and specifies characteristics of new mutations by F=1/4Nu+1, where F=fixation index and N=number in population. Concept 3 demonstrates the hypothesis that polymorphisms result from selectively neutral alleles maintained in a balance between mutation and random genetic drift.

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