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Nat Genet. 1994 Jan;6(1):52-6.

A subterminal satellite located adjacent to telomeres in chimpanzees is absent from the human genome.

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Department of Genetics, University of Leicester, United Kingdom.


One of the significant unresolved differences between the karyotypes of humans and African apes is the presence of positively staining G-bands at the ends of many chromosome arms in the chimpanzee and gorilla but absent from human chromosomes. Using a telomere anchored PCR strategy, we have isolated DNA from a subterminal satellite, composed of a 32 basepair A-T rich repeat, from the chimpanzee genome that hybridizes to all the additional terminal bands and at two interstitial sites. The satellite is more abundant in gorillas and is not detected in humans or orangutans. Furthermore, there is no similarity between other chimpanzee telomere-junction clones and human subterminal sequences, and therefore the organization of sequences adjacent to telomeres is very different between these closely related primates.

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