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Mutat Res. 1985 Jul;154(1):1-27.

Spontaneous mutagenesis: the roles of DNA repair, replication, and recombination.


There appears to be no dearth of mechanisms to explain spontaneous mutagenesis. In the case of base substitutions, data for bacteriophage T4 and especially for E. coli and S. cerevisiae suggest important roles in spontaneous mutagenesis for the error-prone repair of DNA damage (to produce mutations) and for error-free repair of DNA damage (to avoid mutagenesis). Data from the very limited number of studies on the subject suggest that about 50% of the spontaneous base substitutions in E. coli, and perhaps 90% in S. cerevisiae are due to error-prone DNA repair. On the other hand, spontaneous frameshifts and deletions seem to result from mechanisms involving recombination and replication. Spontaneous insertions have been shown to be important in the strongly polar inactivation of certain loci, but it is less important at other loci. Perhaps with continued study, the term "spontaneous mutagenesis" will be replaced by more specific terms such as 5-methylcytosine deamination mutagenesis, fatty acid oxidation mutagenesis, phenylalanine mutagenesis, and imprecise-recombination mutagenesis. While most studies have concentrated on mutator mutations, the most conclusive data for the actual source of spontaneous mutations have come from the study of antimutator mutations. Further study in this area, perhaps along with an understanding of chemical antimutagens, should be invaluable in clarifying the bases of spontaneous mutagenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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