Author(s): Webster MT, Smith NG, Ellegren H, Webster MT, Smith NG, Ellegren H
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Abstract Most studies of microsatellite evolution utilize long, highly mutable loci, which are unrepresentative of the majority of simple repeats in the human genome. Here we use an unbiased sample of 2,467 microsatellite loci derived from alignments of 5.1 Mb of genomic sequence from human and chimpanzee to investigate the mutation process of tandemly repetitive DNA. The results indicate that the process of microsatellite evolution is highly heterogeneous, exhibiting differences between loci of different lengths and motif sizes and between species. We find a highly significant tendency for human dinucleotide repeats to be longer than their orthologues in chimpanzees, whereas the opposite trend is observed in mononucleotide repeat arrays. Furthermore, the rate of divergence between orthologues is significantly higher at longer loci, which also show significantly greater mutability per repeat number. These observations have important consequences for understanding the molecular mechanisms of microsatellite mutation and for the development of improved measures of genetic distance.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Primatology