Melon (Cucumis melo) satellite DNA consists of two components, Q and S, each with a buoyant density in CsCl of 1.707 g/ml, but differing by 9 degrees C in “melting” temperature. These physical properties appear to be in contradiction, since both depend on G + C content. In order to resolve this anomaly, base compositions were directly determined for isolated fractions. the low-“melting” component S contains 41.8% G + C, with 6% of C present as 5-methylcytosine, whereas Q DNA contains 54% G + C, with 41% of C methylated. Analyses of restriction site loss agreed well with the direct determinations of methylation and divergence, and indicated some clustering of methylated sites in Q DNA. Analysis of restricted main-band DNA by hydridization with RNA complementary to Q satellite DNA (“Southern transfer”) showed satellite Q tandem arrays interspersed in DNA of main-band density. Sequence divergence and extent of methylation did not appear to depend on whether a repeat array was present as satellite or interspersed in main-band DNA. Hydridization in situ indicated considerable heterogeneity in the genomic proportion of the Q-DNA sequences in melon fruit nuclei, implying over- and under-representation consistent with extensive unequal recombination in satellite Q tandem arrays. The cucumber, Cucumis sativus, contains less than 8% as much Q-homologous DNA per genome as the melon, suggesting rapid evolutionary gain or loss of these tandem repeat sequences.

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