I was reading this article in wikipedia and came across this :

It has been suggested that recombination takes place during G1, when the DNA is in its 2-strand phase, and replicated during DNA synthesis.

If For example - allele A is present on 1 and a is present on 1' and recombination happens such that a is present on 1 and A on 1' and then both get duplicated during S phase.

So how are the daughter cells going to be different from one another and from the mother cell in terms of phenotype? (obviously the alleles around these alleles are going to change)

How can this result in twin spotting in drosophila or any other trait occurring due to coming together of homozygous alleles by mitotic crossovers ?


1 Answer 1


First off this is called genetic mosaicism and indeed mitotic recombination is a contribution factor.

Mitotic crossover events involve the exchange, by homologous recombination, of regions of chromosomes. 60% of homologous recombination events might occur during G1 and 40% of those event occurs after chromosomes are replicated (see this paper). For twin spotting to occur, you need the homologous recombination to happen on replicated chromosomes (i.e. you need 4 chromatids).

For you question on twin spotting. The following picture illustrates well what are the outcomes of homologous recombination involving two alleles and replicated chromosomes (each line being a chromatid).

enter image description here

If the cell is heterozygous (normal phenotype) for the two recessive alleles, here called y and sn (respectively the "yellow" and "singed bristles" alleles), then two recombination scenarios are possible and differs based on where the recombination occurred. Note that y+ and sn+ are the wild-type alleles and carrying those alleles do not provoke a particular phenotype. The phenotype of the resulting daughter cells are:

  • Twin spots: Yellow but not singed spots (y/sn+) and singed but not yellow spots (y+/sn) for recombination after the y/sn locus
  • Single yellow spots: Yellow but not singed spots (y/sn+) and no spots (y+/sn+) for recombination between y and sn

Here the actual picture of what happens:

enter image description here

Therefore this should make clear why daughter cells can show phenotypes that differ from the original parent cell, i.e. the combination of alleles (especially for recessive ones) changes after mitotic crossover events. The twin spot phenotype in Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent example for illustrating that.

  • $\begingroup$ Hi! In the answer, you mention that "mitotic recombination occurs after chromosomes are replicated" and it definitely makes much more sense that way. But in the article I have linked, recombination has been said to occur during G1. So is the article inaccurate ? $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Apr 3, 2015 at 1:51
  • $\begingroup$ @biogirl Thanks for pointing that out. I actually incorrectly remembered Lee at al. paper where they concluded that 40% of the mitotic recombination events occur after chromosome are replicated (and not all). This therefore means that indeed 60% of the events might happen during G1. The wiki is correct and lists both possibilities. I updated my answer accordingly. $\endgroup$ Apr 3, 2015 at 4:15
  • $\begingroup$ @biogirl Did the rest of the answer helped you in understanding twin spotting? I am not sure this is really clear. $\endgroup$ Apr 3, 2015 at 4:16

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