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Mol Cell. 1999 Nov;4(5):873-81.

Patching broken chromosomes with extranuclear cellular DNA.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Rutgers University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854, USA.


Chromosomal double-strand breaks (DSBs) can be repaired by either homology-dependent or homology-independent pathways. Using a novel intron-based genetic assay to identify rare homology-independent DNA rearrangements associated with repair of a chromosomal DSB in S. cerevisiae, we observed that approximately 20% of rearrangements involved endogenous DNA insertions at the break site. We have analyzed 37 inserts and find they fall into two distinct classes: Ty1 cDNA intermediates varying in length from 140 bp to 3.4 kb and short mitochondrial DNA fragments ranging in size from 33 bp to 219 bp. Several inserts consist of multiple noncontiguous mitochondrial DNA segments. These results demonstrate an ongoing mechanism for genome evolution through acquisition of organellar and mobile DNAs at DSB sites.

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