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Hum Mol Genet. 1998 Aug;7(8):1253-60.

A large polymorphic repeat in the pericentromeric region of human chromosome 15q contains three partial gene duplications.

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Genetics Division, Children's Hospital, Department of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


We report the identification of a partial duplication of GABRA5 , a gene within the imprinted 15q11-q13 region. The duplicated locus maps to the pericentromeric region of 15q, proximal to the large deletions associated with Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes. We also observed variation in the number of copies of this locus in different individuals, indicating that the duplication is part of a variable repeat. Investigation of the duplication in individuals with a normal karyotype revealed between one and four copies of the repeat on each chromosome 15, whereas from eight to 20 copies were found in individuals possessing a cytogenetically detectable elongation of the 15q region. The variable region is roughly 1 Mb in size and contains two other non-processed duplications, the immunoglobulin heavy chain (IgH) D segment gene and the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene. One unit of the pericentromeric repeat is thus composed of duplications of genes from different chromosomal regions. Moreover, we have found replication asynchrony across the GABRA5 duplication, suggesting for the first time that the imprinted part of chromosome 15q extends proximal of the region commonly deleted in Angelman and Prader-Willi syndromes.

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