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Genomics. 1991 Jul;10(3):807-15.

Evolution and distribution of (GT)n repetitive sequences in mammalian genomes.

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  • 1Center for Human Genome Studies, Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico 87545.


The dinucleotide repetitive sequence, (GT)n, is highly interspersed in eukaryotic genomes and may have functional roles in genetic recombination or the modulation of transcriptional activity. We have examined the distribution and conservation of position of GT repetitive sequences in several mammalian genomes. The distribution of GT repetitive sequences in the human genome was determined by the analysis of over 3700 cosmid clones containing human insert DNA. On average, a GT repetitive sequence occurs every 30 kb in DNA from euchromatic regions. GT repetitive sequences are significantly underrepresented in centric heterochromatin. The density of GT repetitive sequences in the human genome could also be estimated by analyzing GenBank genomic sequences that include introns and flanking sequences. The frequency of GT repetitive sequences found in GenBank human DNA sequences was in close agreement with that obtained by experimental methods. GenBank genomic sequences also revealed that (GT)n repetitive sequences (n greater than 6) occur every 18 and 21 kb, on average, in mouse and rat genomes. Comparative analysis of 31 homologous sequences containing (GT)n repetitive sequences from several mammals representing four orders revealed that the positions of these repeats have been conserved between closely related species, such as humans and other primates. To a lesser extent, positions of GT repetitive sequences have been conserved between species in distantly related groups such as primates and rodents. The distribution and conservation of GT repetitive sequences is discussed with respect to possible functional roles of the repetitive sequence.

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