New sequencing technologies are dramatically accelerating progress in forward genetics, and the use of such methods for the rapid identification of mutant alleles will be soon routine in many laboratories. A straightforward extension will be the cloning of major-effect genetic variants in crop species. In the near future, it can be expected that mapping by sequencing will become a centerpiece in efforts to discover the genes responsible for quantitative trait loci. The largest impact, however, might come from the use of these strategies to extract genes from non-model, non-crop plants that exhibit heritable variation in important traits. Deployment of such genes to improve crops or engineer microbes that produce valuable compounds heralds a potential paradigm shift for plant biology.
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