Unstable merodiploid transductants may be observed among the progeny of certain generalized transductional crosses between complementing mutations in the histidine operon of Salmonella typhimurium. In the presence of a functional recombination system, these transductants are unstable and they segregate His- clones of both parental genotypes. The properties of these His+ transductants suggest that they contain tandem duplications of a region of DNA which includes the histidine operon, such that each copy of the duplication contains one of the two complementing mutations involved in the transduction. Transductional duplications have been observed from 14 pairs of his mutations, but only with complementing pairs of parental mutations. The length of duplicated material may be quite large: two duplications were found to include genetic markers ten minutes removed from the histidine operon on the Salmonella chromosomal map. These transductants appear to arise in a subpopulation of recipient cells which contain pre-existing tandem duplications of the histidine operon. As much as 0.01 to 0.1% of the cell population appears to be tandemly duplicated for a chromosomal region which includes the histidine operon.
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