During macronuclear development in hypotrichous ciliated protozoans, several thousand macronuclear DNA molecules are amplified several-hundred fold. We investigated the regulation of this amplification by determining the copy numbers of three different macronuclear DNA molecules in the hypotrichous ciliate Euplotes crassus. Two of the macronuclear DNA molecules were present in approximately 1,000 copies per cell, while the third was present in approximately 6,500 copies per cell. These reiteration levels were achieved either during macronuclear development, or shortly thereafter, and were maintained during vegetative growth. The most abundant macronuclear DNA molecule is present as a single-copy sequence in the micronuclear genome. Thus, its high copy number results from differential amplification. These results indicate that DNA amplification during macronuclear development is regulated individually for each macronuclear DNA molecule.
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