In your issue of March 30, 1998, Paul Smaglik writes of a Tower of Babel generated by multiple names assigned to the same protein or gene names (P. Smaglik, The Scientist, 12[7]:1, March 30, 1998). The situation for plant genes is both worse and better than indicated in the article.

Molecular genetics of animal systems is focused on a few species, principally human, mouse, Drosophila, and the worm. The isolation of genes and proteins from plants, in contrast, is routinely reported from dozens of species: arabidopsis, maize, rice, barley, wheat, tobacco, petunia, tomato, pea, bean, spinach. ... And let's not forget algae: Euglena, Chlamydomonas, Cyanophora, etc. It is not that plant types are hooked on seed catalogs; there were and are compelling scientific, historic, and agricultural reasons for selecting different plants for investigation. A consequence is that no single species dominates. But another consequence of this diversity is...

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