HSRs (homogeneously staining regions) are the cytological correlates of DNA amplification. In the house mouse, Mus musculus, many populations are polymorphic for the presence or absence of HSRs on chromosome 1. In the semispecies M. m. domesticus the amplified DNA is present within one HSR, whereas in M. m. musculus chromosomes 1 with two HSRs are found. Hybridization of HSR-specific probes to Southern blots of HSR-carrying genomic DNAs from different localities and semispecies revealed similar complex band patterns. the remaining variation is restricted to sequences with a low degree of amplification. Variation is higher between semispecies than within one semispecies. It is assumed that HSRs are derived from one original amplification event and that unequal recombination is the mechanism underlying the length variation of HSRs present today in both semispecies. Evidence from G-banding and in situ hybridization shows that the two HSRs of M. m. musculus originated from a single HSR by means of a paracentric inversion, where one break-point was located within the single HSR and the second outside the HSR. As a consequence of the paracentric inversion the two HSRs of M. m. musculus are permanently linked together. Since exchange of genes between the two semispecies is restricted to a narrow hybrid zone the amplification that gave rise to the HSR most probably occurred prior to the divergence into the semispecies M. m. domesticus and M. m. musculus about 1 million years ago.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)