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Cytogenet Cell Genet. 2001;93(3-4):284-90.

Comparative genomic sequencing reveals a strikingly similar architecture of a conserved syntenic region on human chromosome 11p15.3 (including gene ST5) and mouse chromosome 7.

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  • 1Institute of Molecular Genetics, Biosafety Research and Consulting, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany.


Comparative genomics is a superior way to identify phylogenetically conserved features like genes or regions involved in gene regulation. The comparison of extended orthologous chromosomal regions should also reveal other characteristic traits essential for chromosome or gene function. In the present study we have sequenced and compared a region of conserved synteny from human chromosome 11p15.3 and mouse chromosome 7. In human, this region is known to contain several genes involved in the development of various disorders like Beckwith-Wiedemann overgrowth syndrome and other tumor diseases. Furthermore, in the neighboring chromosome region 11p15.5 extensive imprinting of genes has been reported which might extend to region 11p15.3. The analysis of approximately 730 kb in human and 620 kb in mouse led to the identification of eleven genes. All putative genes found in the mouse DNA were also present in the same order and orientation in the human chromosome. However, in the human DNA one putative gene of unknown function could be identified which is not present in the orthologous position of the mouse chromosome. The sequence similarity between human and mouse is higher in transcribed and exon regions than in non-transcribed segments. Dot plot analysis, however, reveals a surprisingly well-conserved sequence similarity over the entire analyzed region. In particular, the positions of CpG islands, short regions of very high GC content in the 5' region of putative genes, are similar in human and mouse. With respect to base composition, two distinct segments of significantly different GC content exist as well in human as in the mouse. With a GC content of 45% the one segment would correspond to "isochore H1" and the other segment (39% GC in human, 40% GC in mouse) to "isochore L1/L2". The gene density (one gene per 66 kb) is slightly higher than the average calculated for the complete human genome (one gene per 90 kb). The comparison of the number and distribution of repetitive elements shows that the proportion of human DNA made up by interspersed repeats (43.8%) is significantly higher than in the corresponding mouse DNA (30.1%). This partly explains why the human DNA is longer between the landmark genes used to define the orthologous positions in human and mouse.

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