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Genetics. 1990 May;125(1):141-54.

The effects of chromosome rearrangements on the expression of heterochromatic genes in chromosome 2L of Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Zoology NJ-15, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


The light (lt) gene of Drosophila melanogaster is located at the base of the left arm of chromosome 2, within or very near centromeric heterochromatin (2Lh). Chromosome rearrangements that move the lt+ gene from its normal proximal position and place the gene in distal euchromatin result in mosaic or variegated expression of the gene. The cytogenetic and genetic properties of 17 lt-variegated rearrangements are described in this report. We show that five of the heterochromatic genes adjacent to lt are subject to inactivation by these rearrangements and that the euchromatic loci in proximal 2L are not detectably affected. The properties of the rearrangements suggest that proximity to heterochromatin is an important regulatory requirement for at least six 2Lh genes. We discuss how the properties of the position effects on heterochromatic genes relate to other proximity-dependent phenomena such as transvection.

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