Two female-specific repetitive DNA units, the 0.4 kb PstI and 0.5 kb TaqI sequences, were detected in the genomic DNA of turkey and pheasant, respectively, by Southern blot hybridization under non-stringent conditions with the W chromosome-specific 0.7 kb XhoI repetitive unit of chicken as a probe. Cloning and sequencing of these two repetitive units revealed that they shared features with the XhoI family repetitive unit of chicken although the overall similarities of the nucleotide sequences were less than 60%. In common with the chicken XhoI family they consisted of tandem repeats of about 21 bp, the majority of which contained (A)3-5 and (T)3-5 clusters separated by six or seven relatively G+C-rich sequences, and they behaved as bent DNA molecules on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis at room temperature. W-protein, purified from chicken liver nuclei and shown to bind with high affinity to the XhoI family repetitive unit, also bound with the cloned repetitive units from turkey and pheasant. DNase I footprint analysis suggested that the mode of interaction of W-protein with these units was similar to that with the 0.7 kb XhoI sequence. On the other hand, W-protein did not bind to the female-specific 0.4 kb BamHI repetitive unit from the Bobwhite quail. The 0.4 kb BamHI sequence contained some A and T clusters but these clusters did not appear in phase with the pitch of DNA helix and the repetitive unit did not show DNA bending.
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