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Cell. 1990 Aug 10;62(3):515-25.

High-frequency P element loss in Drosophila is homolog dependent.

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Genetics Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison 53706.


P transposable elements in Drosophila melanogaster can undergo precise loss at a rate exceeding 13% per generation. The process is similar to gene conversion in its requirement for a homolog that is wild type at the insertion site and in its reduced frequency when pairing between the homologs is inhibited. However, it differs from classical gene conversion by its high frequency, its requirement for P transposase, its unidirectionality, and its occurrence in somatic and premeiotic cells. Our results suggest a model of P element transposition in which jumps occur by a "cut-and-paste" mechanism but are followed by double-strand gap repair to restore the P element at the donor site. The results also suggest a technique for site-directed mutagenesis in Drosophila.

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