, Volume 101, Issue 2, pp 97-104

Comparative mapping of human alphoid satellite DNA repeat sequences in the great apes

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Heterochromatic regions of chromosomes contain highly repetitive, tandemly arranged DNA sequences that undergo very rapid variation compared to unique DNA sequences that are predominantly conserved. In this study the chromosomal basis of speciation has been looked at in terms of repeat sequences. We have hybridized twenty-one chromosome-specific human alphoid satellite DNA probes to metaphase spreads of the chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes), gorilla (Gorilla gorilla), and orangutan (Pongo pygmaeus) to investigate the evolutionary relationship of heterochromatic regions among such hominoid species. The majority of the probes did not hybridize to their corresponding equivalent chromosome but presented hybridization signals on non-corresponding chromosomes. Such observations suggest that rapid changes may have occurred in the ancestral alphoid satellite DNA sequence, resulting in divergence among the great ape species.

This revised version was published online in July 2006 with corrections to the Cover Date.