To map genes, information about the location and number of crossovers in the gametes that produced the progeny of a cross is needed. An efficient way to obtain this information is use a three-point testcross, in which an individual heterozygous at three linked loci is crossed with an individual that is homozygous recessive at the three loci.


Determining the gene order The first task in mapping the genes is to determine their order on the chromosome. In Figure 7.13, we arbitrarily listed the loci in the order st, e, ss, but we had no way of knowing which of the three loci was between the other two. We can now identify the middle locus by examining the double-crossover progeny.

First, determine which progeny are the nonrecombi-nants—they will be the two most-numerous classes of progeny. (Even if crossing over takes place in every meiosis, the nonrecombinants will comprise at least 50% of the progeny.) Among the progeny of the testcross in Figure 7.13, the most numerous are those with all three dominant traits ( st+ e+ ss+ ) and those with all three recessive traits ss ).

Next, identify the double-crossover progeny. These should always be the two least-numerous phenotypes, because the probability of a double crossover is always less than the probability of a single crossover. The least-common progeny among those listed in Figure 7.13 are progeny with red eyes, gray body, and spineless bristles ( st+ e+ ss ) and progeny with scarlet eyes, ebony body, and normal bristles ( st e ss+ ); so they are the double-crossover progeny.

Three orders of genes are possible: the eye-color locus could be in the middle ( e st ss ), the body-color locus could be in the middle ( st e ss ), or the bristle locus could be in the middle ( st ss e ). To determine which gene is in the middle, we can draw the chromosomes of the heterozygous parent with all three possible gene orders and then see if a double crossover produces the combination of genes observed in the double-crossover progeny. The three possible gene orders and the types of progeny produced by their double crossovers are:

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