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Genetica. 2005 Jul;124(2-3):273-89.

ALU-ring elements in the primate genomes.

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  • 1Functional Genomics Unit, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology, Mall Road, Delhi, India.


Elucidation of complete nucleotide sequence of the human has revealed that coding sequences that store the information needed to synthesize functional proteins, occupy only 2% of the genomic region. The remaining 98%, barring few regulatory sequences, has been referred to as non-functional or junk DNA and consists of many kinds of repeat elements. In fact, human genome is the most repeat rich genome sequenced so far, in which more than half of the region is occupied by such sequences. Determination of significance of these repeats in the human genome has become the focus of many studies all over the world, especially after genome sequencing did not reveal any significant difference in coding regions between lower eukaryotes and human. In this article, we have focused on Alu repeats that are primate specific elements with many interesting biological properties. Moreover, these are the repeats with highest copy number in the human genome. We have highlighted different facets of their interaction with the genome and changing paradigms regarding their role in genome organization.

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