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Genome Res. 2004 Apr;14(4):507-16.

Reconstructing the genomic architecture of ancestral mammals: lessons from human, mouse, and rat genomes.

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  • 1Centre de Recherches Mathématiques, Université de Montréal, Canada H3C 3J7.


Recent analysis of genome rearrangements in human and mouse genomes revealed evidence for more rearrangements than thought previously and shed light on previously unknown features of mammalian evolution, like breakpoint reuse and numerous microrearrangements. However, two-way analysis cannot reveal the genomic architecture of ancestral mammals or assign rearrangement events to different lineages. Thus, the "original synteny" problem introduced by Nadeau and Sankoff previously, remains unsolved, as at least three mammalian genomes are required to derive the ancestral mammalian karyotype. We show that availability of the rat genome allows one to reconstruct a putative genomic architecture of the ancestral murid rodent genome. This reconstruction suggests that this ancestral genome retained many previously postulated chromosome associations in the placental ancestor and reveals others that were beyond the resolution of cytogenetic, radiation hybrid mapping, and chromosome painting techniques. Three-way analysis of rearrangements leads to a reliable reconstruction of the genomic architecture of specific regions in the murid ancestor, including the X chromosome, and for the first time allows one to assign major rearrangement events to one of human, mouse, and rat lineages. Our analysis implies that the rate of rearrangements is much higher in murid rodents than in the human lineage and confirms the existence of rearrangement hot-spots in all three lineages.

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