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Genetics. 1993 Feb;133(2):347-59.

Preferential transposition of Drosophila P elements to nearby chromosomal sites.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Laboratories, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, Maryland 21210.


Two different schemes were used to demonstrate that Drosophila P elements preferentially transpose into genomic regions close to their starting sites. A starting element with weak rosy+ marker gene expression was mobilized from its location in the subtelomeric region of the 1,300-kb Dp1187 minichromosome. Among progeny lines with altered rosy+ expression, a much higher than expected frequency contained new insertions on Dp1187. Terminal deficiencies were also recovered frequently. In a second screen, a rosy(+)-marked element causing a lethal mutation of the cactus gene was mobilized in male and female germlines, and viable revertant chromosomes were recovered that still contained a rosy+ gene due to an intrachromosomal transposition. New transpositions recovered using both methods were mapped between 0 and 128 kb from the starting site. Our results suggested that some mechanism elevates the frequency 43-67-fold with which a P element inserts near its starting site. Local transposition is likely to be useful for enhancing the rate of insertional mutation within predetermined regions of the genome.

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