During the last years it became obvious that a lot of families of long-range repetitive DNA elements are located within the genomes of mammals. The principles underlying the evolution of such families, therefore, may have a greater impact than anticipated on the evolution of the mammalian genome as a whole. One of these families, called chAB4, is represented with about 50 copies within the human and the chimpanzee genomes and with only a few copies in the genomes of gorilla, orang-utan, and gibbon. Members of chAB4 are located on 10 different human chromosomes. FISH of chAB4-specific probes to chromosome preparations of the great apes showed that chAB4 is located, with only one exception, at orthologous places in the human and the chimpanzee genome. About half the copies in the human genome belong to two species-specific subfamilies that evolved after the divergence of the human and the chimpanzee lineages. The analysis of chAB4-specific PCR-products derived from DNA of rodent/human cell hybrids showed that members of the two human-specific subfamilies can be found on 9 of the 10 chAB4-carrying chromosomes. Taken together, these results demonstrate that the members of DNA sequence families can evolve as a unit despite their location at multiple sites on different chromosomes. The concerted evolution of the family members is a result of frequent exchanges of DNA sequences between copies located on different chromosomes. Interchromosomal exchanges apparently take place without greater alterations in chromosome structure.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 28, 2009
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