Highly efficient sex chromosome interchanges produced by I-CreI expression in drosophila

Keith A. Maggert, Kent G. Golic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


The homing endonuclease I-CreI recognizes a site in the gene encoding the 23S rRNA of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. A very similar sequence is present in the 28S rRNA genes that are located on the X and Y chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster. In this work we show that I-CreI expression in Drosophila is capable of causing induced DNA damage and eliciting cell cycle arrest. Expression also caused recombination between the X and Y chromosomes in the heterochromatic regions where the rDNA is located, presumably as a result of a high frequency of double-strand breaks in these regions. Approximately 20% of the offspring of males expressing I-CreI showed exceptional inheritance of X- and Y-linked markers, consistent with chromosome exchange at rDNA loci. Cytogenetic analysis confirmed the structures of many of these products. Exchange between the X and Y chromosomes can be induced in males and females to produce derivative-altered Y chromosomes, attached-XY, and attached-X chromosomes. This method has advantages over the traditional use of X rays for generating X-Y interchanges because it is very frequent and it generates predictable products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1103-1114
Number of pages12
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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