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Bioessays. 1998 Apr;20(4):317-27.

In vivo gap repair in Drosophila: a one-way street with many destinations.

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Department of Developmental Genetics, German Cancer Research Center, Heidelberg, Germany.


While it has long been possible to study the process of recombination in yeast and other single-celled organisms, it has been difficult to distinguish between pathways of meiotic and mitotic recombination in multicellular eukaryotes. The experimental system described here bridges the historically separated fields of Genetic Recombination and DNA Repair in Drosophila. It is now feasible to study the repair of unique double-strand breaks induced in the Drosophila genome by the excision of a P-transposable element or by cleavage at an introduced endonuclease recognition sequence. This repair can be studied in both somatic cells and mitotically dividing germ cells. The repair of these breaks occurs mainly by copying sequence from a template located anywhere in the karyoplasm, and occurs in both male and female flies. This system, which was the first of its kind in metazoan organisms, is now being used for gene targeting in Drosophila. This review summarizes results that provide new insights into the process of gap repair in Drosophila and outline some recent experiments that demonstrate the power of the gene targeting technique.

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