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EMBO J. 1996 Apr 1;15(7):1715-25.

Gene conversion plays the major role in controlling the stability of large tandem repeats in yeast.

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Department of Genetics and Development, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, New York, NY 10032, USA.


The genomic stability of the rDNA tandem array in yeast is tightly controlled to allow sequence homogenization and at the same time prevent deleterious rearrangements. In our study, we show that gene conversion, and not unequal sister chromatid exchange, is the predominant recombination mechanism regulating the expansion and contraction of the rDNA array. Furthermore, we found that RAD52, which is essential for gene conversion, is required for marker duplication stimulated in the absence of the two yeast type I topoisomerases. Our results have implications for the mechanisms regulating genomic stability of repetitive sequence families found in all eukaryotes.

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