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Plant Cell. 2010 Jun;22(6):1667-85. doi: 10.1105/tpc.109.073452. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Genome-wide distribution of transposed Dissociation elements in maize.

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Department of Genetics, Development, and Cell Biology, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa 50011, USA.


The maize (Zea mays) transposable element Dissociation (Ds) was mobilized for large-scale genome mutagenesis and to study its endogenous biology. Starting from a single donor locus on chromosome 10, over 1500 elements were distributed throughout the genome and positioned on the maize physical map. Genetic strategies to enrich for both local and unlinked insertions were used to distribute Ds insertions. Global, regional, and local insertion site trends were examined. We show that Ds transposed to both linked and unlinked sites and displayed a nonuniform distribution on the genetic map around the donor r1-sc:m3 locus. Comparison of Ds and Mutator insertions reveals distinct target preferences, which provide functional complementarity of the two elements for gene tagging in maize. In particular, Ds displays a stronger preference for insertions within exons and introns, whereas Mutator insertions are more enriched in promoters and 5'-untranslated regions. Ds has no strong target site consensus sequence, but we identified properties of the DNA molecule inherent to its local structure that may influence Ds target site selection. We discuss the utility of Ds for forward and reverse genetics in maize and provide evidence that genes within a 2- to 3-centimorgan region flanking Ds insertions will serve as optimal targets for regional mutagenesis.

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