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Am J Hum Genet. 1992 May;50(5):914-23.

The presence of interstitial telomeric sequences in constitutional chromosome abnormalities.

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Genetics Center, Department of Pediatrics, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106.


We describe a novel chromosome structure in which telomeric sequences are present interstitially, at the apparent breakpoint junctions of structurally abnormal chromosomes. In the linear chromosomes with interstitial telomeric sequences, there were three sites of hybridization of the telomere consensus sequence within each derived chromosome: one at each terminus and one at the breakpoint junction. Telomeric sequences also were observed within a ring chromosome. The rearrangements examined were constitutional chromosome abnormalities with a breakpoint assigned to a terminal band. In each case (with the exception of the ring chromosome), an acentric segment of one chromosome was joined to the terminus of an apparently intact recipient chromosome. One case exhibited apparent instability of the chromosome rearrangement, resulting in somatic mosaicism. The rearrangements described here differ from the telomeric associations observed in certain tumors, which appear to represent end-to-end fusion of two or more intact chromosomes. The observed interstitial telomeric sequences appear to represent nonfunctional chromosomal elements, analogous to the inactivated centromeres observed in dicentric chromosomes.

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