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Environ Mol Mutagen. 2001;37(4):311-23.

Spontaneous microdeletions and microinsertions in a transgenic mouse mutation detection system: analysis of age, tissue, and sequence specificity.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, City of Hope National Medical Center/Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, California 91010, USA.


A total of 3497 independent spontaneous mutations were examined using the Big Blue transgenic mouse mutation detection system. Base substitutions predominate, although 16% of somatic and germline mutations are microdeletions, microinsertions, or deletions combined with insertions. The pattern of microdeletions and microinsertions is similar in both the lacI transgene and the human p53 gene. Single-base deletions (D1) and insertions (I1) are evenly distributed in the lacI transgene, whereas microdeletions from 2 to 50 bp are clustered at two regions (bp 129-228 and 529-628). The pattern of microdeletions and microinsertions is similar between young (< or =3 months) and old (25 months) mice. Brain tissue has a paucity of deletions combined with insertions when compared with that of thymus and nine other tissues (P = 0.01). A 16-bp deletion at lacI base position 272 is a tissue-specific hotspot preferentially occurring in brain. Approximately 68 and 93% of D1 and I1, respectively, occur at mononucleotide repeats. The frequencies of D1 and I1 in mononucleotide repeats increase in an exponential manner with the length of the repeat. The lacI transgene shows similarity to the human p53 gene in the pattern of microdeletions and microinsertions and the size distribution of microdeletions.

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