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Genetics. May 1990; 125(1): 103–114.
PMCID: PMC1203992

Insertion and Excision of the Transposable Element Mariner in Drosophila


The transposable element mariner is active in both germline and somatic cells of Drosophila mauritiana. Activity of the element is greatly enhanced in the presence of Mos1, a genetic factor identified as an autonomous copy of mariner. A strain of D. mauritiana containing Mos1 and other copies of mariner was used to initiate a screen for visible mutations. More than 20 mutations were obtained, including alleles of white, yellow and vermilion. Six alleles were characterized at the molecular level, and all were found to contain a mariner element inserted into the affected gene. Four insertions into the white locus were sequenced to determine the exact site of insertion of mariner. There appears to be little sequence specificity requirement for mariner insertion, other than an absolute requirement for the dinucleotide TA, which is duplicated upon insertion. Sequences of phenotypically wild-type germline and somatic revertants obtained from various white alleles, including the previously isolated w(pch) allele, were obtained using the polymerase chain reaction. Mariner excision is imprecise in both germline and soma, and the most frequent excision events are the same in the two tissues. Mutant derivatives of w(pch) were also studied, and were found to exhibit a wide range of molecular structures and phenotypes.

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Selected References

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