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Genetics. 1989 Jun;122(2):307-16.

Molecular evolution of the telomere-associated MAL loci of Saccharomyces.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Queens College, Flushing, New York.


The MAL gene family of Saccharomyces consists of five multigene complexes (MAL1, MAL2, MAL3, MAL4, and MAL6) each of which encodes maltose permease (GENE 1), maltase (GENE 2) and the trans-acting MAL-activator (GENE 3). Four of these loci have been mapped and each is located at or near the telomere of a different chromosome. We compare the physical structure of the MAL loci and their flanking sequences. The MAL loci were shown to be both structurally and functionally homologous throughout an approximately 9.0-kb region. The orientation of the MAL loci was determined to be: CENTROMERE . . . GENE 3-GENE 1-GENE 2 . . . TELOMERE. Telomere-adjacent sequences were found flanking GENE 2 of the MAL1, MAL3 and MAL6 loci. No common repeated elements were found on the centromere-proximal side of all the MAL1, loci. These results suggest that, during the evolution of this polygenic family, the MAL loci translocated to different chromosomes via a mechanism that involved the rearrangement(s) of chromosome termini.

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