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Mutat Res. 1999 Jul 16;428(1-2):227-36.

Mechanisms of mutation induction in germ cells of the mouse as assessed by the specific locus test.

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Institute of Mammalian Genetics, GSF-Research Center for Environment and Health, Ingolst├Ądter Landstr. 1, D-85764, Neuherberg, Germany.


Mouse germ cell specific locus mutagenesis data and a molecular characterization of mutant alleles have been reviewed to arrive at an understanding of the mechanism of mutation induction in mammals. (a) The spermatogenic stage specificity for the sensitivity to mutation induction by 20 chemical mutagens is considered. (b) The effects of a saturable repair process and its recovery over time are examined for the mutagenic efficiency of ethylnitrosourea. (c) The mutagenic events following methylnitrosourea and chlorambucil are shown to be mainly deletions. In contrast the mutations recovered after ethylnitrosourea treatment are almost exclusively base pair substitutions. (d) It is emphasized that to date very few specific locus experiments have been designed to test for mutagenic events outside the interval stem cell spermatogonia-mature spermatozoa. A specific locus mutation has recently been shown to be due to loss of heterozygosity via mitotic recombination in an early zygote stage and suggests a broader range of possible mechanisms of mutation when these stages are considered. (e) With the cloning of all 7 marker loci mutation analysis at the molecular level will allow a more direct assessment of the mutation process in future studies.

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