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Cell. 1997 Feb 7;88(3):367-74.

Human chromosomal fragile site FRA16B is an amplified AT-rich minisatellite repeat.

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Department of Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics, Women's and Children's Hospital, North Adelaide, Australia.


Fragile sites are nonstaining gaps in chromosomes induced by specific tissue culture conditions. They vary both in population frequency and in the culture conditions required for induction. Folate-sensitive fragile sites are due to expansion of p(CCG)n trinucleotide repeats; however, the relationship between sequence composition and the chemistry of induction of fragile sites is unclear. To clarify this relationship, the distamycin A-sensitive fragile site FRA16B was isolated by positional cloning and found to be an expanded 33 bp AT-rich minisatellite repeat, p(ATATA TTATATATTATATCTAATAATATATC/ATA)n (consistent with DNA sequence binding preferences of chemicals that induce its cytogenetic expression). Therefore the mutation mechanism associated with trinucleotide repeats is also a property of minisatellite repeats (variable number tandem repeats).

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