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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Dec 15, 1993; 90(24): 11929–11933.

Correlations between isochores and chromosomal bands in the human genome.


The human genome is made up of long DNA segments, the isochores, which are compositionally homogeneous and can be subdivided into a small number of families characterized by different G+C levels. Chromosome in situ suppression hybridization (in which excess unlabeled human DNA is added to suppress hybridization of repeated sequences present in the probe, enabling enhanced observation of single-copy sequences) of DNA fractions characterized by an increasing G+C level was carried out to determine the distribution of "single-copy" sequences corresponding to isochore families L1+L2, H1, H2, and H3 on metaphase chromosomes. This produced a banding pattern progressing from a relatively diffuse staining to an R-banding, to a T-banding. More specifically, our results showed that (i) T-bands are formed by the G+C-richest isochores of the H3 family and by part of the G+C-rich isochores of the H1 and H2 families (with a predominance of the latter); (ii) R'-bands (namely, R-bands exclusive of T-bands) are formed to almost equal extents by G+C-rich isochores of the H1 families (with a minor contribution of the H2 and H3 families) and by G+C-poor isochores of the L1+L2 families; (iii) G-bands essentially consist of G+C-poor isochores from the L1+L2 families, with a minor contribution of isochores from the H1 family. These results not only clarify the correlations between DNA base composition and chromosomal bands but also provide information on the distribution of genes in chromosomes, gene concentration increasing with the G+C levels of isochores.

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