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Evidence of an essential difference between point mutations and chromosome breaks induced by triethylene melamine inDrosophila spermatozoa


Storing of triethylene melamine-treated mature spermatozoa in untreated females was found to result in increased frequencies of both sex-linked recessive lethals and translocations involving the Y, II and III chromosomes. Frequencies of these mutations in effectively unstored spermatozoa were determined from progenies produced using sperm 2–4 days after treatment. The increase in translocation frequencies was on the order of 12-fold in progenies from sperm utilized 11–13 days after treatment when the sperm were stored at 25°C, and 3- to 6-fold when comparable sperm were stored at 12.5°C. Consistent but much smaller increases in frequencies of sex-linked lethals were found, with the increase in lethals tending to be correlated with relative increase in translocation frequency in a given experiment. On the assumption that sex-linked lethals related to chromosome breakage would be expected to increase in frequency in the same proportion as do translocations, approximate agreement was obtained when the proportions of breakage-related lethals among unstored lethals were estimated from the data in the four experimental series. The data are thus consistent with the hypothesis that chromosome breaks but not point mutations are realized during storage of treated spermatozoa. Possible interpretations of a differential effect of storage on treated chromosomes are discussed.

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Studies carried out while the author was a guest investigator at the Institute of Animal Genetics on sabbatical leave from the University of Minnesota.

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Snyder, L.A. Evidence of an essential difference between point mutations and chromosome breaks induced by triethylene melamine inDrosophila spermatozoa. Zeitschrift für Vererbungslehre 94, 182–189 (1963).

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  • Point Mutation
  • Differential Effect
  • Relative Increase
  • Melamine
  • Experimental Series