Plant Molecular Biology

, Volume 28, Issue 2, pp 281–292 | Cite as

Somatic intrachromosomal homologous recombination events in populations of plant siblings

  • Holger Puchta
  • Peter Swoboda
  • Susannah Gal
  • Michel Blot
  • Barbara Hohn
Research Article


Intrachromosomal homologous recombination in whole tobacco plants was analyzed using β-glucuronidase as non-selectable marker. We found that recombination frequencies were additive for transgenes in allelic positions and could be enhanced by treatment of plants with DNA-damaging agents. We compared the patterns of distribution of recombination events of different transgenic lines of tobacco and Arabidopsis with the respective Poisson distributions. Some lines showed Poisson-like distributions, indicating that recombination at the transgene locus was occurring in a random fashion in the plant population. In other cases, however, the distributions deviated significantly from Poisson distributions indicating that for specific transgene loci and/or configurations recombination events are not randomly distributed in the population. This was due to overrepresentation of plants with especially many as well as especially few recombination events. Analysis of one tobacco line indicated furthermore that the distribution of recombination events could be influenced by treating the seedlings with external factors. Our results suggest that different plant individuals, or parts of them, might exhibit different transient ‘states’ of recombination competence. A possible model relating ‘recombination silencing’ and transcription silencing to heterochromatization of the transgene locus is discussed.

Key words

Arabidopsis thaliana gene silencing MMS treatment Nicotiana tabacum Poisson distribution UV irradiation 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holger Puchta
    • 1
  • Peter Swoboda
    • 1
    • 3
  • Susannah Gal
    • 1
    • 4
  • Michel Blot
    • 2
  • Barbara Hohn
    • 1
  1. 1.Friedrich Miescher-InstitutBaselSwitzerland
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, BiozentrumUniversity of BaselBaselSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of GeneticsUniversity of WashingtonSeattleUSA
  4. 4.Department of Biological SciencesThe State University of New York at BinghamtonBinghamtonUSA

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