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Am J Hum Genet. Jul 1992; 51(1): 17–37.
PMCID: PMC1682890

Chromosome bands, their chromatin flavors, and their functional features.


To show that the input pattern of chromosomal mutations is highly organized relative to the band patterns along human chromosomes, a new term, "metaphase chromatin flavor," is introduced. Five different flavors of euchromatic metaphase bands are cytologically identified along a human ideogram. These are G-bands and, based upon combinations of extreme Alu richness and GC richness, four different R-band flavors. The two flavors with extremely GC-rich components, traditionally called "T-bands," represent only 15% of all bands. However, they contain 65% of mapped genes, 19 of 25 mapped oncogenes, most cancer-associated rearrangements, evolutionary rearrangements, meiotic chiasmata, and X-ray-induced breaks. Flavors with extremely Alu-rich flavors are also involved in melphalan-induced rearrangements, pachytene stretching, and mitotic chiasmata. Frequencies of CpG islands, CCGCCC boxes, retroposon families, and genes are characteristic to each chromatin flavor and will facilitate alignment of genome sequences onto ideograms of chromatin flavor. The influence of chromatin flavor on the evolution of a gene's sequence is so strong that one can infer the flavor of the band in which a gene resides from the sequence of the gene itself. Correlation coefficients for many pairs of mapped genetic variables, while globally high, are quite low within bands of one flavor, implicating a concerted mode of evolution for bands of one chromatin flavor.

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