Gene exchange in African trypanosomes: frequency and allelic segregation

Jeremy Sternberg, C.M.R. Turner, Jerry M. Wells, Lisa C. Ranford-Cartwright, Richard W.F. Le Page, Andrew Tait*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


The existence of a system of genetic exchange in Trypanosoma brucei is now established, but the frequency with which mating occurs and the mechanisms by which genes are exchanged are still unknown. This paper presents the results of a study of one pair of trypanosome stocks, which show that mating is a non-obligatory but frequent event in a life-cycle stage within the insect vector. Analysis of ten progeny clones using a total of eleven markers (iso-enzymes and DNA probes detecting restriction fragment length polymorphisms) has indicated that segregation of alleles occurs at five of these loci. The segregation patterns of a polymorphic EcoRI site in the maxi-circle of the kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) show that the progeny inherit one or other of the parental kDNA types. These results demonstrate that segregation of alleles occurs and that new combinations of alleles at different loci are generated in the progeny clones. The implications of these findings for defining the mechanism of gene exchange are discussed in relation to a simple mendelian genetic system involving meiosis and syngamy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-279
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular and biochemical parasitology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 1989
Externally publishedYes


  • Allelic segregation
  • Genetic exchange
  • Kinetoplast DNA
  • Trypanosoma brucei

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