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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Oct 11;91(21):9921-5.

A determination of the frequency of gene conversion in unmanipulated mouse sperm.

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Department of Immunology, Wenner-Gren Institute, University of Stockholm, Sweden.


Gene conversion, sometimes also called micro gene conversion or gene conversion-like events, has been proposed to act on a number of genes in higher eukaryotes, such as gamma-globin, beta-tubulin, major urinary protein, and amyloid A genes. In the immune system, immunoglobulin genes and major histocompatibility complex class I and class II genes have been implicated. The notion that integral segments of DNA have been transferred from one gene to another in these cases has, however, met considerable resistance. We have devised a PCR assay detecting only the molecule that results if the E beta d-derived fragment analogous to that introduced in the bm12 mutation is transferred to the A beta k gene. We have proceeded to analyze sperm from the F1 cross C3H/HeJ (haplotype k) x BALB/c (haplotype d). In our assay, we find that the frequency for conversion of this particular DNA segment is 2 x 10(-6). This frequency is relevant only in the germ line; when liver cells were tested as an example of somatic cells, no events were observed, implying a frequency of < 2 x 10(-8) in liver. Fragments > 100 bp seem to be possible to transfer in this conversion.

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