We have found that the maize transposable element Activator (Ac) can rapidly proliferate when transformed into tomato plants. The fate of transposed Ac elements in self-pollinated progeny of independent transgenic tomato plants was examined by DNA gel blot hybridizations. When a single copy of Ac was introduced into a transformant, the number of copies usually remained low in subsequent generations. In one lineage, however, the number of Ac elements increased from one to more than 15 copies in only two generations. DNA gel blot analyses indicated that the amplified elements were not grossly rearranged. Amplified copies of Ac resided at unique sites in the genome, and segregation analysis indicated that these sites were not tightly linked at one genetic locus. Taken together, these observations indicate that the mechanism of Ac amplification is associated with transposition.
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