This study is an attempt to reconstruct the stages of the evolution of heterochromatin in eukaryotes. According to the hypothesis put forward in the work, the origin of satellite DNAs (stDNAs) was directly related to certain functional characteristics of DNA polymerases, and stDNAs themselves are products of accidental slippage at replication initiation sites. Even at the moment when the stDNAs precursors (protosatellites) appeared, they had properties of selfish DNA. Therefore, specific complex mechanisms of genetic control of their replication and recombination have developed in evolution to restrict the spread of these DNAs over the genome. The host control over protosatellites has led to the appearance of the main heterochromatic characteristics in them, such as late replication, decreased recombination, and denser chromatin packing compared to euchromatin. The next stage of heterochromatin evolution led to the union of protosatellite clusters and ordinary genes if late replication was necessary for these genes or if gene complexes already formed required protection from the destructure effect of crossing over. The known cases of location of certain genes in heterochromatic blocks in Drosophila melanogaster,the eukaryote that has been best studied genetically, confirm this hypothesis.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2004
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