A large cluster of highly expressed genes is dispensable for growth and development in Aspergillus nidulans.
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We investigated the functions of the highly expressed, sporulation-specific SpoC1 genes of Aspergillus nidulans by deleting the entire 38-kb SpoC1 gene cluster. The resultant mutant strain did not differ from the wild type in (1) growth rate, (2) morphology of specialized reproductive structures formed during completion of the asexual or sexual life cycles, (3) sporulation efficiency, (4) spore viability or (5) spore resistance to environmental stress. Thus, deletion of the SpoC1 gene cluster, representing 0.15% of the A. nidulans genome, had no readily detectable phenotypic effects. Implications of this result are discussed in the context of major alterations in gene expression that occur during A. nidulans development.