INTRODUCTION TO THE CASE STUDIES
The case studies in Section III are an integral part of the learning experience to be gained from this book. The role of the case study is to reinforce the theory presented in each chapter of Section II by providing the reader with actual bench experiments that put the theory into practice. Unlike much of biological research that tends to be quite descriptive, genetic analysis techniques are abstract and in many ways similar to mathematics. In molecular genetics, one studies genes and proteins that one can only observe indirectly and in the mind's eye. The case study makes the theory concrete and demonstrates that the tools developed in theory actually do work in the laboratory. Hopefully readers will become more comfortable with these research tools by working through the case studies, and thus will more likely make use of them in their own research. In today's world of genomics and proteomics, it is unfortunate that so many still adhere to descriptive methods when the tools of genetic analysis would enable them to probe more deeply and uncover mechanisms rather than correlations.
Each case study is a developmental series of research articles that, taken together, tell a story. The cohesive thread of that story is broken if only a few articles are analyzed or if one picks and chooses articles from different case studies. Therefore, it is urged that the reader choose one case study and work only from that case study. Specific articles can be deleted from each case study but a minimum of six articles are needed if one is to experience at least one example of each of the essential genetic tools: mutant hunts, complementation analysis, epistasis analysis, suppression, enhancement, and gene isolation techniques. Adequate coverage of the complexities of suppression and enhancement requires analysis of more than one article for each of these areas. Moreover, given the broad-based uses of two-hybrid analysis and dominant negative mutations, it is strongly suggested that articles using these methods also be included. Thus, 10 articles is a reasonable selection but certainly the more the better.
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