, Volume 116, Issue 1, pp 29-40
Date: 28 Oct 2006

Human chromosomal bands: nested structure, high-definition map and molecular basis

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Abstract

In this paper, we report investigations on the nested structure, the high-definition mapping, and the molecular basis of the classical Giemsa and Reverse bands in human chromosomes. We found the rules according to which the ∼3,200 isochores of the human genome are assembled in high (850-band) resolution bands, and the latter in low (400-band) resolution bands, so forming the nested mosaic structure of chromosomes. Moreover, we identified the borders of both sets of chromosomal bands at the DNA sequence level on the basis of our recent map of isochores, which represent the highest-resolution, ultimate bands. Indeed, beyond the 100-kb resolution of the isochore map, the guanine and cytosine (GC) profile of DNA becomes turbulent owing to the contribution of specific sequences such as exons, introns, interspersed repeats, CpG islands, etc. The isochore-based level of definition (100 kb) of chromosomal bands is much higher than the cytogenetic definition level (2–3 Mb). The major conclusions of this work concern the high degree of order found in the structure of chromosomal bands, their mapping at a high definition, and the solution of the long-standing problem of the molecular basis of chromosomal bands, as these could be defined on the basis of compositional DNA properties alone.

Communicated by S. Henikoff