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A model system for analyzing somatic mutations in Drosophila melanogaster


Presently there are no good assays for comparing somatic mutation frequencies and spectra between different vertebrate and invertebrate organisms. Here we describe a new lacZ mutation reporter system in D. melanogaster, which complements existing systems in the mouse. The results obtained with the new model indicate two-to threefold higher frequencies of spontaneous mutations than in the mouse, with most of the mutations characterized as large genome rearrangements.

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Figure 1: Schematic depiction of the pUR288-S mutation reporter model in D. melanogaster.
Figure 2: Mutant frequencies and spectra in D. melanogaster.


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We thank P. Kapahi for critical comments and valuable suggestions. This work was supported by a grant from the US National Institutes of Health (AG20438).

Author information




J.V. conceived, designed and supervised the study (initially with M.E.T.D.), obtained the funding and took the primary role in writing the manuscript. A.M.G. designed and performed most of the experiments, with A.D., assisted by R.B. and E.P. M.L. generated the transgenic flies (assisted by L.C.) and supervised the final experiments. R.B.C. provided statistical support.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jan Vijg.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary information

Supplementary Fig. 1

Complete pCasper/pUR288-S nucleotide sequence. (PDF 47 kb)

Supplementary Fig. 2

Background mutant frequencies and spectra. (PDF 224 kb)

Supplementary Table 1

Sequenced size-change mutants recovered from line 11. (PDF 39 kb)

Supplementary Methods (PDF 73 kb)

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Garcia, A., Derventzi, A., Busuttil, R. et al. A model system for analyzing somatic mutations in Drosophila melanogaster. Nat Methods 4, 401–403 (2007).

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