Concerted evolution of alpha satellite DNA: evidence for species specificity and a general lack of sequence conservation among alphoid sequences of higher primates.
We investigated relationships among alpha satellite DNA families in the human, gorilla, chimpanzee, and orangutan genomes by filter hybridization with cloned probes which correspond to chromosome-specific alpha satellite DNAs from at least 12 different human chromosomes. These include representatives of both the dimer-based and pentamer-based subfamilies, the two major subfamilies of human alpha satellite. In addition, we evaluated several high-copy dimer-based probes isolated from gorilla genomic DNA. Under low stringency conditions, all human probes tested hybridized extensively with gorilla and chimpanzee alpha satellite sequences. However, only pentameric and other non-dimeric human alphoid probes hybridized with orangutan alpha satellite sequences; probes belonging to the dimer subfamily did not cross-hybridize detectably with orangutan DNA. Moreover, under high stringency conditions, each of the human probes hybridized extensively only with human genomic DNA; none of the probes cross-hybridized effectively with other primate DNAs. Dimer-based gorilla alpha satellite probes hybridized with human and chimpanzee, but not orangutan, sequences under low stringency hybridization conditions, yet were specific for gorilla DNA under high stringency conditions. These results indicate that the alpha satellite DNA family has evolved in a concerted manner, such that considerable sequence divergence is now evident among the alphoid sequences of closely related primate species.
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