Asymmetries Generated by Transcription-Coupled Repair in Enterobacterial Genes

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Science  05 Apr 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5258, pp. 107-109
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5258.107


Although certain replication errors occur at different frequencies on each of the complementary strands of DNA, it remains unclear whether this bias is prevalent enough during chromosome replication to affect sequence evolution. Here, nucleotide substitutions in enteric bacteria were examined, and no difference in mutation rates was detected between the leading and lagging strands, but in comparing the coding and noncoding strands, an excess of C→T changes was observed on the coding strand. This asymmetry is best explained by transcription-coupled repair on the noncoding strand. Although the vast majority of mutations are thought to arise from spontaneous errors during replication, this result implicates DNA damage as a substantial source of mutations in the wild.

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