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Lefevre, G., Watkins, W.S. (1986). The question of the total gene number in Drosophila melanogaster.  Genetics 113: 869--895.
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A statistical analysis has been carried out on the distribution and allelism of nearly 500 sex-linked, X-ray-induced, cytologically normal and rearranged lethal mutations in Drosophila melanogaster that were obtained by G. Lefevre. The mutations were induced in four different regions of the X chromosome: (1) 1A1-3E8, (2) 6D1-8A5, (3) 9E1-11A7 and (4) 19A1-20F4, which together comprise more than one-third of the entire chromosome.--The analysis shows that the number of alleles found at different loci does not fit a Poisson distribution, even when the proper procedures are taken to accommodate the truncated nature of the data. However, the allele distribution fits a truncated negative binomial distribution quite well, with cytologically normal mutations fitting better than rearrangement mutations. This indicates that genes are not equimutable, as required for the data to fit a Poisson distribution.--Using the negative binomial parameters to estimate the number of genes that did not produce a detectable lethal mutation in our experiment (n0) gave a larger number than that derived from the use of the Poisson parameter. Unfortunately, we cannot estimate the total numbers of nonvital loci, loci with undetectable phenotypes and loci having extremely low mutabilities. In any event, our estimate of the total vital gene number was far short of the total number of bands in the analyzed regions; yet, in several short intervals, we have found more vital genes than bands; in other intervals, fewer. We conclude that the one-band, one-gene hypothesis, in its literal sense, is not true; furthermore, it is difficult to support, even approximately.--The question of the total gene number in Drosophila will, not doubt, eventually be solved by molecular analyses, not by statistical analysis of mutation data or saturation studies.

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PMC1202917 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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