PRODUCTION AND ANALYSIS OF PLANT MUTANTS, EMPHASIZING ARABIDOPSIS THALIANA
Mutational analysis is a powerful tool for dissecting complex biological processes. In Arabidopsis thaliana and other plant species, mutants are currently being used as tools for studying plant development and for examining metabolic pathways. The fundamental assumption of a mutational analysis. sometimes not explicitly stated, is that an examination of the phenotype of a mutant will shed light on the normal functioning of the nonmutant, wild type versions of that gene. This underlying assumption has consequences for the optimum design of mutagenesis, for mutant identification, and for mutant characterization experiments. By way of contrast, a different set of usefulness criteria is appropriate when a new mutant marker is needed for a transmission genetic experiment, such as analysis of recombination within a chromosomal region.