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Genetics. 1991 Jun;128(2):303-10.

Introduction of the transposable element mariner into the germline of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Genetics, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110-1095.


A chimeric white gene (wpch) and other constructs containing the transposable element mariner from Drosophila mauritiana were introduced into the germline of Drosophila melanogaster using transformation mediated by the P element. In the absence of other mariner elements, the wpch allele is genetically stable in both germ cells and somatic cells, indicating that the peach element (i.e., the particular copy of mariner inserted in the wpch allele) is inactive. However, in the presence of the active element Mos1, the wpch allele reverts, owing to excision of the peach element, yielding eye-color mosaics and a high rate of germline reversion. In strains containing Mos1 virtually every fly is an eye-color mosaic, and the rate of wpch germline reversion ranges from 10 to 25%, depending on temperature. The overall rates of mariner excision and transposition are approximately sixfold greater than the rates in comparable strains of Drosophila simulans. The activity of the Mos1 element is markedly affected by position effects at the site of Mos1 insertion. In low level mosiac lines, dosage effects of Mos1 are apparent in the heavier level of eye-color mosaicism in Mos1 homozygotes than in heterozygotes. However, saturation occurs in high level mosaic lines, and then dosage effects are not observed. A pBluescribe M13+ plasmid containing Mos1 was injected into the pole plasm of D. melanogaster embryos, and the Mos1 element spontaneously integrated into the germline at high efficiency. These transformed strains of D. melanogaster presently contain numerous copies of mariner and may be useful in transposon tagging and other applications.

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