Organelle recombinant genotype frequencies, derived from analysis of individual mitotic zygote clones of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, were subjected to two types of statistical tests in an attempt to detect the occurrence of reciprocal recombination: (i) calculation of correlation coefficients for the frequencies of two recombinant genotypes (reciprocal or non-reciprocal pairs) within individual zygote clones, and (ii) application of the chi-square test for independence to the frequencies of zygotes yielding one or the other, neither, or both of a given recombinant pair. Applying test (i), the strongest correlations are found for non-reciprocal rather than reciprocal pairs. When the data are analyzed by method (ii), some reciprocal as well as non-reciprocal pairs appear to be produced concurrently in zygote clones. However, such deviations from independence are greatest for non-reciprocal pairs. These tests yield comparable results for yeast mitochondrial and Chlamydomonas chloroplast gene recombination, and provide no convincing evidence for reciprocal genetic exchange. Explanations for the observed lack of reciprocality are discussed with reference both to our present understanding of the molecular events responsible for genetic recombination, and to the problems which may be unique to the analysis of organelle gene recombination.
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