The specific activities of α-amylase were measured for two sets of mutation accumulation lines, each set having originated from a different lethal-carrying second chromosome and SM1(Cy) chromosome and having been maintained by a balanced lethal system for about 300 generations. Significant variation was found to have accumulated among lines of both sets. Because of dysgenic crosses in the early generations of mutation accumulation, insertions or deletions of transposable elements in the Amy gene region were suspected of being the cause of this variation. In order to test this possibility, the structural changes in the 14 kb region of these chromosomes that includes the structural genes for α-amylase were investigated by restriction map analysis. We found that most part of the activity variation is due to replacements of a chromosomal region of SM1(Cy), including the structural genes for α-amylase, by the corresponding regions of the lethal chromosomes. One line also contained an insertion in this region but this line has an intermediate activity value. Thus, insertions of transposable elements into the Amy gene region were not found to be responsible for the new variation observed in α-amylase activity. If we remove those lines with structural changes from the analysis, the genetic variance of α-amylase specific activity among lines becomes non-significant in both sets of chromosomes.
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