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Genetics. 2002 Mar;160(3):1011-22.

Timing and targeting of P-element local transposition in the male germline cells of Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269-2131, USA.


The P element in Drosophila melanogaster preferentially transposes into nearby sites. The local insertions display a preferential orientation toward the starting element. We investigated the mechanism of the P-element local transposition by isolating and characterizing local insertions in the male germline. We designed a genetic screen employing a marker gene that is carried in the P element and is dose sensitive. This dose effect allows isolation of flies containing newly transposed P elements in the presence of the starting element. A rapid molecular screen with PCR was used to identify 45 local insertions located within an approximately 40-kb genomic region on both sides of the starting element. Our system permits the isolation of the cluster progeny derived from a single insertion event, but none was isolated. The data suggest that local transposition occurs in the meiotic cell cycle. Nearly all of the local insertions were located within the promoter regions of the genes that were active in the male germline cells, suggesting that local insertions target predominantly active promoters. Our analysis shows that local transposition of the P element is highly regulated, displaying a cell-type specificity and a target specificity.

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