Repair and Mutagenesis in Drosophila: A Summary and Perspective
The contributions of genetic experiments with Drosophila melanogaster to the relationship between chromosome breakage and mutagenesis antedate the demonstration of DNA as the genetic material. One of the earliest observations was that the spontaneous rate of mutations in females is no greater than that of males. The fact that meiotic crossing over, a chromosome breakage and rejoining process, occurs in females and not in males implied that the “repair” of the broken chromatids involved in crossing over must occur with such precision as to preclude the generation of new mutations. Subsequently, the genetic versatility of ID. melanogaster was exploited to demonstrate first that x-rays and later that mustard gas and other chemicals can be powerful mutagenic agents. The post Watson-Crick era and the dominance of microorganisms in genetic research deferred, for obvious reasons, research on DNA repair and mutagenesis in eukaryotes. From the series of reports that are included here, it is eminently clear that much progress has been made in our understanding the process of repair in eukaryote DNA and its relationship to mutagenesis. It is also evident from the research results presented that experimentation with D. melanogaster will further our understanding on DNA repair and mutagenesis.
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