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Genetics. 1975 Sep;81(1):21-31.

Evidence of tandem duplication of genes in a merodiploid region of Pneumococcal mutants resistant to sulfonamide.


A Pneumococcal mutant, sulr-c, resistant to sulfonamides, and three transformants bearing associated d or d+ resistance markers have earlier been reported to be unstable and show distinct patterns and frequencies of segregating stable progeny lacking the c marker. Each of the four strains showed a characteristic dosage of the genes involved in the merodiploidy. Complementary strands of DNA's from these stable and unstable strains were resolved and homoduplex and heteroduplex hybrids made from the separated DNA strands were used as donors in genetic transformations. Activities of a normal marker (streptomycin resistance) and those involved in the heterozygosity (c, d and d+) were quantitatively measured. From those heteroduplexes made up of opposite strands derived from a heterozygote and a stable strain, the normal marker is transferred efficiently, but the heterozygous markers are not. On the other hand, if both strands of a heteroduplex are derived from different heterozygotic strains, all markers can be transferred with usual efficiency to a stable recipient strain. The lowered efficiency in the former type of heteroduplex is attributed to an inhomology resulting from a tandem duplication in the merodiploid strains, and a postulated DNA repair process stimulated by it while in the form of the donor duplex. The inhomology probably includes (a) a microheterogeneity between the c site and the wild type locus, and (b) a more extensive incompatibility attributable to an extra segment of genome in a tandem duplication covering the c and d sites. The first of these inhomologies produces a lowered efficiency of transfer from all configurations of the particular d allele associated with the mutant c marker, and therefore accounts for the characteristic transfer patterns even from the native merodiploid DNA's.

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