A Journey to the Center of the Chromosome

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Science  15 Dec 2000:
Vol. 290, Issue 5499, pp. 2057-2059
DOI: 10.1126/science.290.5499.2057

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The Arabidopsis genome project is the first to give a detailed picture of the centromeres in a higher eukaryote. The centromere, a crucial stretch of DNA buried in the knotty terrain at the center of the chromosome, has generally been ignored by other genome sequencing projects because it is highly repetitive, making it very difficult to sequence accurately. But the discovery of an Arabidopsis mutant whose pollen forms quartets has enabled the plant's centromeric regions to be defined with unprecedented accuracy.