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PLoS Biol. 2007 Nov 6;5(11):e299.

Synthesis-dependent strand annealing in meiosis.

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Committee on Genetics, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, United States of America.


Recent studies led to the proposal that meiotic gene conversion can result after transient engagement of the donor chromatid and subsequent DNA synthesis-dependent strand annealing (SDSA). Double Holliday junction (dHJ) intermediates were previously proposed to form both reciprocal crossover recombinants (COs) and noncrossover recombinants (NCOs); however, dHJs are now thought to give rise mainly to COs, with SDSA forming most or all NCOs. To test this model in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, we constructed a random spore system in which it is possible to identify a subset of NCO recombinants that can readily be accounted for by SDSA, but not by dHJ-mediated recombination. The diagnostic class of recombinants is one in which two markers on opposite sides of a double-strand break site are converted, without conversion of an intervening heterologous insertion located on the donor chromatid. This diagnostic class represents 26% of selected NCO recombinants. Tetrad analysis using the same markers provided additional evidence that SDSA is a major pathway for NCO gene conversion in meiosis.

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