Mendel Upended?

How the behavior of an Arabidopsis gene could overturn the classical laws of genetics.

By Andrea Gawrylewski

1 She had found that a mutant Arabidopsis plant could "fix itself" back to the wild-type and take on the genetics of its grandparents. That seemed to contradict the laws of Mendelian inheritance.

Since the late 1990s, Lolle, then at Harvard University, had been collaborating with Purdue University's Robert Pruitt, to study how the plant cuticle, or epidermis, does its job of wax production, water regulation, and overall plant protection. Lolle and Pruitt bred Arabidopsis plants to have a mutation in each gene associated with regulating organ development and fusion. This allowed them to observe the phenotypic traits associated with each gene, specifically on the cuticle.

They reported in 1998 on the fused reproductive organs characterizing the morphology of an Arabidopsis plant with a mutation at a gene they called HOTHEAD...

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