McClean: Yeast Nomenclature

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'S. cerevisiae' researchers have a systematic approach for describing genotypes of yeast strains. You need to follow this system when writing papers, protocols, and when entering yeast strains into the lab database.

Much of this information is taken from the "Methods in Yeast Genetics" book from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. See the references below.


Chromosomal Genes

Nonmendelian Determinants

Genetic Background


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Burke, D. Dawson, D. & Sterns, T. 2000 Methods in Yeast Genetics: A Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Course Manual Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press


or instead, discuss this protocol.

Nomenclature Naming Yeast Strains Now that you've become (somewhat) comfortable working with yeast in the lab, it's time to master some of the jargon associated with yeast… S. cerevisiae researchers have adopted a systematic approach for describing the genotypes of their yeast strains. Genes that have been studied or characterized in some way often have a "common" name ascribed to them, and this name generally consists of three letters and a number. For example, LEU2 refers to a gene encoding an enzyme in the leucine biosynthetic pathway, and PDR3 refers to a gene encoding a transcription factor involved in pleiotropic drug resistance. The table below describes the basics of yeast genetic nomenclature which is always typed up in italics. Wild-type alleles are written in all caps LEU2 And sometimes with a "plus" sign LEU2+ Recessive mutant alleles are written in lower case arg2 And may include an allele number arg2-9 Dominant mutant alleles are written in all caps And should include an allele number PDR3-11 Or other notation to indicate it is not wild-type. OLIr Besides its "common" name, each gene has a systematic name that refers to its precise position in the genome… YNL323w This is a yeast gene On chromosome XIV (N is the 14th letter in the alphabet) This gene is on the left arm of the chromosome It is the 323rd gene away from the centromere It is on the "Watson" strand I