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Biological Sciences


Dr. Tom Hammond

Mentor Department

Biological Sciences


Meiotic drive describes a process in which selfish alleles are recovered in more than half of a progeny generation. It is a type of gene drive and it has been discovered in strains of Neurospora, a filamentous fungus, through its spore killing mechanism. One of the most studied meiotic drive elements within N. crassa is Spore-killer 3 (Sk-3). Previous studies have indicated that there is a genomic region within Sk-3 that encodes resistance to spore killing and another that encodes an element that is required for spore killing. Sk-3’s resistance gene, rsk, has been identified. However, the exact region that mediates Sk-3’s spore killing mechanism is currently unknown. In a previous study, it was found that a mutation called rfk- 2 UV disrupts spore killing by Sk-3. To better understand the region of Chromosome III in which rfk-2 UV is located (its exact location is unknown), we constructed deletion vectors to replace two DNA intervals (V374 and V391) with hygromycin resistance gene markers (hph). Transformants were crossed to produce offspring, and offspring were tested to determine if they possess the ability to kill ascospores. Our findings will contribute to future efforts to determine the molecular nature of rfk-2 UV and why this mutation disrupts the ability of Sk-3 to kill spores.

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