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October, 2006
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DNA, Circular: Any of the covalently closed DNA molecules found in bacteria, many viruses, mitochondria, plastids, and plasmids. Small, polydisperse circular DNA's have also been observed in a number of eukaryotic organisms and are suggested to have homology with chromosomal DNA and the capacity to be inserted into, and excised from, chromosomal DNA. It is a fragment of DNA formed by a process of looping out and deletion, containing a constant region of the mu heavy chain and the 3'-part of the mu switch region. Circular DNA is a normal product of rearrangement among gene segments encoding the variable regions of immunoglobulin light and heavy chains, as well as the T-cell receptor. (Riger et al., Glossary of Genetics, 5th ed & Segen, Dictionary of Modern Medicine, 1992)
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