Yeast as a Model Genetic Organism


The budding yeast is an ideal experimental organism for genetic research. The yeast shares a common life cycle and cellular architecture with higher eukaryotes, and as a microorganism it is easily propagated and manipulated in the laboratory.

Keywords: Saccharomyces cerevisiae; mutagenesis; meiosis; complementation; recombination

Figure 1.

The life cycle of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. (a) Alternation of generations and vegetative growth. (b) Mating type switching in homothallic (Ho+) haploids. Mother cells switch in G1.

Figure 2.

Meiotic segregation in the budding yeast. (a) Cross between two mutants, yfg1 × yfg2. The white and black boxes represent the mutant alleles of yfg1 and yfg2, respectively. The black circle represents the centromere. (b) Schematic of chromosomes after DNA replication and the pairing of homologous chromosomes. (c) Schematic of three possible chromosome configurations after recombination and synapsis. CO stands for crossover. (d) Tetrad classes resulting from a given crossover event are represented with the genotype indicated in the spore. Not shown: two‐strand double crossovers result in PD; three‐strand double crossovers result in T.

Figure 3.

Schematic of targeted transformation by homologous recombination. (a) Plasmid integration. (b) Allele replacement. (c) Plasmid gap repair by homologous recombination.


Further Reading

Cherry JM, Ball C, Dolinski K, et al. Saccharomyces genome database. [http://genome‐]

Cox BS (1995) Genetic analysis in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. In: Wheals AE, Rose AH and Harrison SJ (eds) The Yeasts, 2nd edn vol. 6, pp. 7–67. London: Academic Press.

Forsburg SL (2001) The art and design of genetic screens: yeast. Nature Reviews Genetics 2: 659–669.

Guthrie C and Fink GR (eds) (1991) Guide to Yeast Genetics and Molecular Biology. Methods in Enzymology, vol. 194. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Pringle JR, Broach JR and Jones EW (1991) The Molecular and Cellular Biology of the Yeast Saccharomyces, vols I and II. Cold Spring Harbor: Cold Spring Harbor Press.

Rose MD (1995) Modern and postmodern genetics in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In: Wheals AE, Rose AH and Harrison SJ (eds) The Yeasts, 2nd edn, vol. 6, pp. 69–120. London: Academic Press.

Sherman F (1998) An introduction to the genetics and molecular biology of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. []

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Mell, Joshua Chang, and Burgess, Sean M(Mar 2003) Yeast as a Model Genetic Organism. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons Ltd, Chichester. [doi: 10.1038/npg.els.0000821]