Forward and reverse genetics
Once we know that genetic functions are hidden within the DNA molecule, the next step is to identify these functions and to understand whether we can use the information to meet fundamental needs. Different strategies have been developed to discover gene functions. Forward genetics was born first, it consists in the identification of mutant organisms within a population followed by the isolation of the mutated gene/locus. This approach allows to infer the function of a gene starting from the phenotype of its mutant. The availability of genome sequences revolutionised the way of exploring gene functions; reverse genetics starts from gene sequences and proceeds through the identification of mutants in specific genes to infer their molecular function.
The best strategy is to have the possibility to apply both forward and reverse genetics and this is exactly how ExpoSEED has been planned. Depending on the species and on the availability of genetic resources, the partners of ExpoSEED will exploit complementary approaches to functionally characterize key genes controlling plants yield.