Chromosome-specific alpha satellite DNA from human chromosome 1: Hierarchical structure and genomic organization of a polymorphic domain spanning several hundred kilobase pairs of centromeric DNA
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The human alpha satellite repetitive DNA family is organized as distinct chromosome-specific subsets localized to the centromeric region of each chromosome. Here, we report he isolation and characterization of cloned repeat units which define a hierarchical subset of alpha satellite on human chromosome 1. This subset is characterized by a 1.9-kb higher-order repeat unit which consists of 11 tandem approximately 171-bp alpha satellite monomer repeat units. The higher-order repeat unit is itself tandemly repeated, present in at least 100 copies at the centromeric region of chromosome 1. Using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis we estimate the total array length of these tandem sequences at the centromere of chromosome 1 to be several hundred kilobase pairs. Under conditions of high stringency, the higher-order repeat probe hybridizes specifically to chromosome 1 and can be used to detect several associated restriction fragment length DNA polymorphisms. As such, this probe may be useful for molecular and genetic analyses of the centromeric region of human chromosome 1.