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Genetics. Feb 2001; 157(2): 831–849.
PMCID: PMC1461523

Recombination and spontaneous mutation at the major cluster of resistance genes in lettuce (Lactuca sativa).

Abstract

Two sets of overlapping experiments were conducted to examine recombination and spontaneous mutation events within clusters of resistance genes in lettuce. Multiple generations were screened for recombinants using PCR-based markers flanking Dm3. The Dm3 region is not highly recombinagenic, exhibiting a recombination frequency 18-fold lower than the genome average. Recombinants were identified only rarely within the cluster of Dm3 homologs and no crossovers within genes were detected. Three populations were screened for spontaneous mutations in downy mildew resistance. Sixteen Dm mutants were identified corresponding to spontaneous mutation rates of 10(-3) to 10(-4) per generation for Dm1, Dm3, and Dm7. All mutants carried single locus, recessive mutations at the corresponding Dm locus. Eleven of the 12 Dm3 mutations were associated with large chromosome deletions. When recombination could be analyzed, deletion events were associated with exchange of flanking markers, consistent with unequal crossing over; however, although the number of Dm3 paralogs was changed, no novel chimeric genes were detected. One mutant was the result of a gene conversion event between Dm3 and a closely related homolog, generating a novel chimeric gene. In two families, spontaneous deletions were correlated with elevated levels of recombination. Therefore, the short-term evolution of the major cluster of resistance genes in lettuce involves several genetic mechanisms including unequal crossing over and gene conversion.

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Selected References

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