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EMBO J. 1985 Mar;4(3):591-7.

Plant transposable elements generate the DNA sequence diversity needed in evolution.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Züchtungsforschung, 5000 Köln 30, FRG.


Two germinal and 16 somatic reversion events induced by the Enhancer (En) transposable element system at the wx-8::Spm-I8 allele of Zea mays were cloned and studied by sequence analysis. Excision of the Spm-I8 receptor element from the wx gene results in various mutant DNA sequences. This leads to altered gene products, some of which are still capable of restoring the wild-type phenotype. Possible 'foot-print' sequences that may have arisen by the excision of transposable elements were observed when intron sequences of the wild-type (wx+) and mutant (wx-m8) alleles of the wx gene were compared. The sequence divergence generated by visitation of a locus by plant transposable elements is discussed with respect to the molecular evolution of the new gene functions.

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