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Nucleic Acids Res. May 25, 1983; 11(10): 3087–3095.
PMCID: PMC325950

The 5-methylcytosine content of highly repeated sequences in human DNA.


Previously, we found much tissue- or cell-specificity in the levels of 5-methylcytosine (m5C) in the total human genome as well as in DNA fractions resolved by reassociation kinetics. We now report that there were even greater differences in the m5C content of the highly repeated, tandem EcoRI family of DNA sequences from different human organs or cell populations. The ratio of m5C levels in this DNA fraction from brain, placenta, and sperm was 2.0:1.2:1.0. At a HhaI site in this repeat family, sperm DNA was 5-10 fold less methylated than somatic DNAs. In contrast, the highly repeated Alu family, which is approximately 5% of the genome, had almost the same high m5C content in brain and placenta despite marked tissue-specific differences in m5C levels of the single copy sequences with which these repeats are interspersed. These data show that very different degrees of change in methylation levels of various highly repeated DNA sequences accompany differentiation.

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Selected References

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