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Mol Gen Genet. 1993 Jan;236(2-3):448-52.

Size variation of rDNA clusters in the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe.

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Laboratoire de Génétique, URA CNRS 1189, Faculté de Médecine, Marseille, France.


The higher-order organization of rRNA genes was investigated in the yeasts Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Schizosaccharomyces pombe. We used pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) in combination with frequent cutter endonucleases having no recognition sites within rDNA repeating units to characterize tandem arrays of ribosomal genes in these two species. Large variations in rDNA cluster length were detected in various S. cerevisiae and S. pombe strains commonly used as PFGE molecular weight markers. This wide range of variability implies that the sizes currently assessed for chromosomes bearing rRNA genes in these organisms are unreliable since they may vary within strains by several hundreds of kilobase pairs, depending on the size of the tandem arrays of rRNA genes. Consequently, there is now a lack of reliable PFGE size standards between 1.6 Mb and 4.5 Mb, even when established yeast strains with calibrated chromosomes are used.

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