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Genome Res. 2002 Nov;12(11):1651-62.

Genomic structure and evolution of the ancestral chromosome fusion site in 2q13-2q14.1 and paralogous regions on other human chromosomes.

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  • 1Division of Human Biology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington 98109, USA.


Human chromosome 2 was formed by the head-to-head fusion of two ancestral chromosomes that remained separate in other primates. Sequences that once resided near the ends of the ancestral chromosomes are now interstitially located in 2q13-2q14.1. Portions of these sequences had duplicated to other locations prior to the fusion. Here we present analyses of the genomic structure and evolutionary history of >600 kb surrounding the fusion site and closely related sequences on other human chromosomes. Sequence blocks that closely flank the inverted arrays of degenerate telomere repeats marking the fusion site are duplicated at many, primarily subtelomeric, locations. In addition, large portions of a 168-kb centromere-proximal block are duplicated at 9pter, 9p11.2, and 9q13, with 98%-99% average sequence identity. A 67-kb block on the distal side of the fusion site is highly homologous to sequences at 22qter. A third ~100-kb segment is 96% identical to a region in 2q11.2. By integrating data on the extent and similarity of these paralogous blocks, including the presence of phylogenetically informative repetitive elements, with observations of their chromosomal distribution in nonhuman primates, we infer the order of the duplications that led to their current arrangement. Several of these duplicated blocks may be associated with breakpoints of inversions that occurred during primate evolution and of recurrent chromosome rearrangements in humans.

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