Author(s): Engels WR, Preston CR
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Abstract A syndrome of germline abnormalities in Drosophila melanogaster called hybrid dysgenesis is thought to be caused by transposable genetic elements known as P factors. Several lines of evidence presented here show that the chromosomal positions of at least some P factors can be identified as points of frequent chromosome breakage (hotspots). Starting with a strain (pi 2) in which four hotspots had been identified on the X chromosome, we found individual hotspots vanished when their part of the chromosome was replaced by the homologous part from a strain known to lack P factors. All hotspots in the non-substituted parts of the chromosome remained functional, indicating that they can act autonomously. We also observed a new breakage site coinciding with the appearance of an unstable mutation at the singed bristle locus (snW). This mutation was dysgenesis-induced, and previous genetic evidence suggested that it was caused by the insertion of a P factor at that locus. We also present preliminary evidence for rapid scrambling of the positions of hotspots under certain conditions, and we describe a new procedure for efficiently determining the positions of hotspots on a given chromosome.
This article was published in Cell
and referenced in Biochemistry & Physiology: Open Access