In the course of evolution, a gene is often duplicated in tandem, resulting in a functional redundancy. The analysis of function of these genes by raising double mutant might be difficult because they are very tightly linked. We described here a mutant of such a tandem duplicated gene. glu1 is a gamma-ray-induced rice mutant, which lacks an acidic subunit of glutelin, a major seed storage protein. We found that glu1 harbors a 129.7-kb deletion involving two highly similar and tandem repeated glutelin genes, GluB5 and GluB4. The deletion eliminated the entire GluB5 and GluB4 gene except half of the first exon of GluB5. GluB5 and GluB4 have the same amino acid sequence in the acidic subunit, suggesting that only the mutation involving both GluB5 and GluB4 results in the lack of the glutelin acidic subunit deleted in glu1. Our finding suggests that gamma-ray can be an effective mutagen to analyze tandem repeated and functionally redundant genes.
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