Since approximately 290 different characters in maize have been described and assigned symbols it is becoming more and more difficult to find appropriate symbols, suggestive of the character, for new genes. Therefore, we recommend the following:
When a new character arises which is similar in its appearance to a previously described character it should be given the same symbol as that used for the old character except that the subscript, of course, shall be different. This has been done in the past, e.g. the different virescents, glossy seedlings, etc., but it has not been followed in all cases. As a concrete example of what we have in mind, we have different striped leaves described as fine streaked, fine striped, green striped, yellow striped, japonica, iojap, striate, etc. The number of genetically different striped characters will probably be great. Therefore, instead of trying to find a new symbol for a new stripe designate it as j2 if it resembles japonica, or ys2 if it resembles yellow stripe, etc. The same holds for the male steriles, dwarfs, etc. Unless we are willing to do this we shall be forced to use tri-literal symbols, or bi-literal symbols which in no way suggest the appearance of the character.
We strongly urge that you correspond with this office before assigning symbols to new characters. We shall keep the list of assigned symbols up to date so that we can be of assistance in assigning the proper symbols. The success of this project depends entirely upon your cooperation. There have been several instances in the past where the same symbol has been used for different genes. This is confusing not only to maize geneticists but to others.