Special Reviews

Structural Dynamics of Eukaryotic Chromosome Evolution

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Science  08 Aug 2003:
Vol. 301, Issue 5634, pp. 793-797
DOI: 10.1126/science.1086132

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Large-scale genome sequencing is providing a comprehensive view of the complex evolutionary forces that have shaped the structure of eukaryotic chromosomes. Comparative sequence analyses reveal patterns of apparently random rearrangement interspersed with regions of extraordinarily rapid, localized genome evolution. Numerous subtle rearrangements near centromeres, telomeres, duplications, and interspersed repeats suggest hotspots for eukaryotic chromosome evolution. This localized chromosomal instability may play a role in rapidly evolving lineage-specific gene families and in fostering large-scale changes in gene order. Computational algorithms that take into account these dynamic forces along with traditional models of chromosomal rearrangement show promise for reconstructing the natural history of eukaryotic chromosomes.

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