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Rare Bases in Animal DNA


THE rare bases which occur in animal DNA deserve special attention because their presence is directly relevant to questions concerning the cellular, subcellular and species specificity of DNA methylation. In animal DNA, the base 5-methylcytosine (5-MeCyt) is usually detected1,2. Numerous attempts to find N6-methyladenine (6-MeAde)—which is characteristic of the DNA of various microorganisms3–5—in animal DNA proved unsuccessful3,6–9. This may be accounted for by the fact that animal cells do not contain the enzymes required for methylating DNA at adenine residues7–9. Nevertheless, 6-MeAde and certain N2-methylated derivatives of guanine have been recently discovered in appreciable amounts in bovine and human sperm DNA10. Our present knowledge on the specificity of DNA methylation in animal cells is not only scanty but also contradictory.

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VANYUSHIN, B., TKACHEVA, S. & BELOZERSKY, A. Rare Bases in Animal DNA. Nature 225, 948–949 (1970).

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