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Genetics. 2002 Jun;161(2):711-20.

Efficient repair of DNA breaks in Drosophila: evidence for single-strand annealing and competition with other repair pathways.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin 53706, USA.


We show evidence that DNA double-strand breaks induced in the Drosophila germ line can be repaired very efficiently by the single-strand annealing (SSA) mechanism. A double-strand break was made between two copies of a 1290-bp direct repeat by mobilizing a P transposon. In >80% of the progeny that acquired this chromosome, repair resulted in loss of the P element and loss of one copy of the repeat, as observed in SSA. The frequency of this repair was much greater than seen for gene conversion using an allelic template, which is only approximately 7%. A similar structure, but with a smaller duplication of only 158 bp, also yielded SSA-like repair events, but at a reduced frequency, and gave rise to some products by repair pathways other than SSA. The 1290-bp repeats carried two sequence polymorphisms that were examined in the products. The allele nearest to a nick in the putative heteroduplex intermediate was lost most often. This bias is predicted by the SSA model, although other models could account for it. We conclude that SSA is the preferred repair pathway in Drosophila for DNA breaks between sequence repeats, and it competes with gene conversion by the synthesis-dependent strand annealing (SDSA) pathway.

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