The bronze (bz) locus exhibits the highest rate of recombination of any gene in higher plants. To investigate the possible basis of this high rate of recombination, we have analyzed the physical organization of the region around the bz locus. Two adjacent bacterial artificial chromosome clones, comprising a 240-kb contig centered around the Bz-McC allele, were isolated, and 60 kb of contiguous DNA spanning the two bacterial artificial chromosome clones was sequenced. We find that the bz locus lies in an unusually gene-rich region of the maize genome. Ten genes, at least eight of which are shown to be transcribed, are contained in a 32-kb stretch of DNA that is uninterrupted by retrotransposons. We have isolated nearly full length cDNAs corresponding to the five proximal genes in the cluster. The average intertranscript distance between them is just 1 kb, revealing a surprisingly compact packaging of adjacent genes in this part of the genome. At least 11 small insertions, including several previously described miniature inverted repeat transposable elements, were detected in the introns and 3′ untranslated regions of genes and between genes. The gene-rich region is flanked at the proximal and distal ends by retrotransposon blocks. Thus, the maize genome appears to have scattered regions of high gene density similar to those found in other plants. The unusually high rate of intragenic recombination seen in bz may be related to the very high gene density of the region
To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.