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Sequence microheterogeneity is generated at junctions of programmed DNA deletions in Tetrahymena thermophila.

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Regulated DNA deletions are known to occur to thousands of specific DNA segments in Tetrahymena during macronuclear development. In this study we determined the precision of this event by examining the junction sequences produced by three different deletions in many independent caryonidal lines. 0.9 kb deletions in region M produce at least 3 types of junction sequences, of which two have been determined and found to be different by 4 bp. The alternative 0.6 kb deletions in this region are much less variable. 1.1 kb deletions in region R, known from a previous study to be slightly variable, produce two types of junction sequences which are different from each other by 3 bp. Thus, developmentally regulated deletions in Tetrahymena can produce sequence microheterogeneity at their junctions. This process contributes significantly to the diversification of Tetrahymena's somatic genome.

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