The results of genetic fine structure experiments, performed on the amiA locus of Pneumococcus are summarized. The peculiar feature of transformation genetics is that a given donor marker mutation transforms with an efficiency characteristic of the mutated site. In spite of this difficulty, mapping procedures have been devised and quantitative recombination studies performed. It is concluded from these studies that transformation, in this locus, is the consequence of frequent, and essentially random exchanges occurring between donor DNA and the chromosomal DNA of the recipient cell. The average length of uninterrupted donor DNA polynucleotide strand which could be inserted into the chromosome of a transformed cell is estimated, from genetic data, to be probably not greater than 3·105 daltons (for a double-stranded insertion). It is proposed, on the basis of genetic evidence, that following essentially random exchanges between donor DNA and recipient chromosome, a revision process, specific for certain types of mutated sites, occurs. The revision process appears to remove preferentially donor DNA sequences from the primary recombinant structure, and allow repair along the chromosomal template, leading to low efficiency in the genetic integration of these sites. A mechanism for this "destruction-choice" process is presented, and evidence in support of this mechanism discussed.

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