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Cell. 1990 Jan 12;60(1):95-103.

Hypervariable minisatellite DNA is a hotspot for homologous recombination in human cells.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, College of Medicine, University of Illinois, Chicago 60612.


Hypervariable minisatellite DNA sequences are short tandemly repeated sequences that are present throughout the human genome and are implicated to enhance recombination. We have constructed a consensus hypervariable minisatellite sequence and analyzed its effect on homologous recombination in human cells in culture. The consensus sequence d(AGAGGTGGGCAGGTGG)6.5 is shown to stimulate homologous recombination up to 13.5-fold. The stimulation occurs at a distance and in both directions but does show a quantitative directionality. Stimulation occurs in a codominant manner, and the sequence is inherited equally in the products. Enhancement is maintained, but at a reduced level, when double-strand breaks are introduced into the substrates. Multiple unselected recombination events are promoted, and preferential stimulation of reciprocal exchange events is demonstrated.

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