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Mol Biol Evol. 2004 Jan;21(1):58-64. Epub 2003 Oct 6.

Single-molecule analysis of the hypermutable tetranucleotide repeat locus D21S1245 through sperm genotyping: a heterogeneous pattern of mutation but no clear male age effect.

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  • 1Department of Evolutionary Biology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


Single molecule genotyping of the hypermutable microsatellite locus D21S1245 was used for studying how the rate and pattern of mutation varied between alleles and different age groups. In total, 203 mutation events were scored from the genotyping of DNA corresponding to an estimated 8623 sperm cells from eight different men. Allele-specific mutation rates ranged from 0.007 to 0.052, a heterogeneity related in part to variation in the mutation rate among three allelic lineages identified after allele sequencing. Alleles from these lineages differed in the overall repeat structure of this complex microsatellite locus. Also, the pattern of mutation varied between lineages in that they differed in the relative proportions of expansion and contraction mutations. Surprisingly, a group of four men aged 18-23 years showed a higher mean mutation rate than a group of four men aged 48-56 years. To some extent this age difference can probably be explained by a bias in the distribution of alleles from the three allelic lineages among the age groups. However, the absence of a clear male age effect is at odds with the idea of an increasing male mutation rate with age, which is thought to arise from the continuous replication of germline cells throughout adulthood.

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