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Simultaneous transposition of different mobile elements: Relation to multiple mutagenesis in Drosophila melanogaster

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Several different transposition events occur simultaneously in one and the same germ cell, as we have found by analyzing different genetic systems in Drosophila melanogaster. (i) In unstable ct MR2 strains, stable reversions to ct + and changes in the type of ct mutation, which depend on an excision or transposition of the mobile element mdg4 (Gerasimova 1981; Gerasimova et al. 1984), are frequently accompanied by the appearance of novel mutations in different loci of the X chromosome. Some of these (sn, w, g) seem to be induced by the P-element and copia. (ii) A stable ct MR2 reversion to the wild type frequently coexists with an insertion of one to five copies of the P-element in the X-chromosome. Thus, the number of independent transposition events registered by genetic analysis and in situ hybridization may be as great as six. (iii) In two strains with double unstable mutations (cm, ct, and ct, r), double reversions to the wild type occurred at a high rate (80%–97% of total revertants). They frequently coexisted with novel strain-specific mutations. (iv) The stable strain ct 6 g2is destabilized by crossing with the MRh12/Cy strain (which contains a number of P-element copies). Both mutations begin to revert to the wild type. Of the revertants 50% have double reversions. Our experiments revealed a high specificity of insertion sites depending on the nature of transposon and the strain genotype. A possible role played by the burst of transposition in the evolution and possible mechanisms of transposition specificity are discussed.

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Correspondence to Tatiana I. Gerasimova.

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Communicated by D.M. Goldfarb

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Gerasimova, T.I., Matyunina, L.V., Ilyin, Y.V. et al. Simultaneous transposition of different mobile elements: Relation to multiple mutagenesis in Drosophila melanogaster . Molec. Gen. Genet. 194, 517–522 (1984).

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  • Genetic Analysis
  • Germ Cell
  • High Specificity
  • Insertion Site
  • Mobile Element