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EMBO Rep. 2000 Dec;1(6):489-93.

Mapping of a human centromere onto the DNA by topoisomerase II cleavage.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, UK.


We have mapped the positions of topoisomerase II binding sites at the centromere of the human Y chromosome using etoposide-mediated DNA cleavage. A single region of cleavage is seen at normal centromeres, spanning approximately 50 kb within the centromeric alphoid array, but this pattern is abolished at two inactive centromeres. It therefore provides a marker for the position of the active centromere. Although the underlying centromeric DNA structure is variable, the position of the centromere measured in this way is fixed relative to the Yp edge of the array, and has retained the same position for >100,000 years.

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