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Am J Hum Genet. 1989 Mar;44(3):388-96.

Abundant class of human DNA polymorphisms which can be typed using the polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Marshfield Medical Research Foundation, WI 54449.


Interspersed DNA elements of the form (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n constitute one of the most abundant human repetitive DNA families. We report that specific human (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n blocks are polymorphic in length among individuals and therefore represent a vast new pool of potential genetic markers. Comparison of sequences from the literature for (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n blocks cloned two or more times revealed length polymorphisms in seven of eight cases. Variations in the lengths of 10 (dC-dA)n.(dG-dT)n blocks were directly demonstrated by amplifying the DNA within and immediately flanking the repeat blocks by using the polymerase chain reaction and then resolving the amplified DNA on polyacrylamide DNA sequencing gels. Use of the polymerase chain reaction to detect DNA polymorphisms offers improved sensitivity and speed compared with standard blotting and hybridization.

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