Journal Article Higher-order repeat structure in alpha satellite DNA occurs in New World monkeys and is not confined to hominoids

Sujiwattanarat, Penporn  ,  Thapana, Watcharaporn  ,  Srikulnath, Kornsorn  ,  Hirai, Yuriko  ,  Hirai, Hirohisa  ,  Koga, Akihiko

52015-05-14 , Nature Publishing Group
Centromeres usually contain large amounts of tandem repeat DNA. Alpha satellite DNA (AS) is the most abundant tandem repeat DNA found in the centromeres of simian primates. The AS of humans contains sequences organized into higher-order repeat (HOR) structures, which are tandem arrays of larger repeat units consisting of multiple basic repeat units. HOR-carrying AS also occurs in other hominoids, but results reported to date for phylogenetically more remote taxa have been negative. Here we show direct evidence for clear HOR structures in AS of the owl monkey and common marmoset. These monkeys are New World monkey species that are located phylogenetically outside of hominoids. It is currently postulated that the presence of HOR structures in AS is unique to hominoids. Our results suggest that this view must be modified. A plausible explanation is that generation of HOR structures is a general event that occurs occasionally or frequently in primate centromeres, and that, in humans, HOR-carrying AS became predominant in the central region of the centromere. It is often difficult to assemble sequence reads of tandem repeat DNAs into accurate contig sequences; our careful sequencing strategy allowed us to overcome this problem.

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