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G3 (Bethesda). 2019 Dec 27. pii: g3.400853.2019. doi: 10.1534/g3.119.400853. [Epub ahead of print]

Synaptonemal Complex-Deficient Drosophila melanogaster Females Exhibit Rare DSB Repair Events, Recurrent Copy-Number Variation, and an Increased Rate of de Novo Transposable Element Movement.

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University of Washington


Genetic stability depends on the maintenance of a variety of chromosome structures and the precise repair of DNA breaks. During meiosis, programmed double-strand breaks (DSBs) made in prophase I are normally repaired as gene conversions or crossovers. DSBs can also be made by other mechanisms, such as the movement of transposable elements (TEs), which must also be resolved. Incorrect repair of these DNA lesions can lead to mutations, copy-number changes, translocations, and/or aneuploid gametes. In Drosophila melanogaster, as in most organisms, meiotic DSB repair occurs in the presence of a rapidly evolving multiprotein structure called the synaptonemal complex (SC). Here, whole-genome sequencing is used to investigate the fate of meiotic DSBs in D. melanogaster mutant females lacking functional SC, to assay for de novo CNV formation, and to examine the role of the SC in transposable element movement in flies. The data indicate that, in the absence of SC, copy-number variation still occurs and meiotic DSB repair by gene conversion occurs infrequently. Remarkably, an 856-kilobase de novo CNV was observed in two unrelated individuals of different genetic backgrounds and was identical to a CNV recovered in a previous wild-type study, suggesting that recurrent formation of large CNVs occurs in Drosophila. In addition, the rate of novel TE insertion was markedly higher than wild type in one of two SC mutants tested, suggesting that SC proteins may contribute to the regulation of TE movement and insertion in the genome. Overall, this study provides novel insight into the role that the SC plays in genome stability and provides clues as to why the sequence, but not structure, of SC proteins is rapidly evolving.


c(3)G; copy-number variation; corolla; crossing over; meiosis; noncrossover gene conversion; sister chromatid exchange; synaptonemal complex; transposable element; whole-genome sequencing

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