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Am J Hum Genet. 2003 May;72(5):1101-16. Epub 2003 Mar 20.

Genome architecture catalyzes nonrecurrent chromosomal rearrangements.

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Department of Molecular and Human Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


To investigate the potential involvement of genome architecture in nonrecurrent chromosome rearrangements, we analyzed the breakpoints of eight translocations and 18 unusual-sized deletions involving human proximal 17p. Surprisingly, we found that many deletion breakpoints occurred in low-copy repeats (LCRs); 13 were associated with novel large LCR17p structures, and 2 mapped within an LCR sequence (middle SMS-REP) within the Smith-Magenis syndrome (SMS) common deletion. Three translocation breakpoints involving 17p11 were found to be located within the centromeric alpha-satellite sequence D17Z1, three within a pericentromeric segment, and one at the distal SMS-REP. Remarkably, our analysis reveals that LCRs constitute >23% of the analyzed genome sequence in proximal 17p--an experimental observation two- to fourfold higher than predictions based on virtual analysis of the genome. Our data demonstrate that higher-order genomic architecture involving LCRs plays a significant role not only in recurrent chromosome rearrangements but also in translocations and unusual-sized deletions involving 17p.

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