We have recovered terminal chromosome deletions of the X chromosome of Drosophila [Df(1)RT; RT = receding tips] that break in various positions of the yellow gene (y) region and delete all distal DNA sequences. Terminal DNA fragments are heterogeneous in length. Molecular cloning and sequencing of the terminal DNA fragments revealed that the broken ends of the deleted chromosomes do not carry any telomeric DNA sequences, yet the broken chromatids do not fuse to one another. Moreover, we confirmed by sequence analysis of 49 independently cloned terminal DNA fragments from two RT lines collected at different times that they lose DNA sequences from their distal ends at a rate of 70-75 base pairs per fly generation. We calculate that the rate of loss from these ends is consistent with the removal of an octanucleotide RNA primer at each round of DNA replication in the germ line.
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