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Old 15th March 2014, 05:24 PM
PNGarrison PNGarrison is offline
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Gene Conversion and Y STRs in Palindromes

Gene Conversion Violates the Stepwise Mutation Model for Microsatellites in Y-chromosomal Palindromic Repeats.

The male-specific region of the human Y chromosome (MSY) contains eight large inverted repeats (palindromes) in which high sequence similarity between repeat arms is maintained by gene conversion. These palindromes also harbor microsatellites, considered to evolve via a stepwise mutation model (SMM). Here we ask whether gene conversion between palindrome microsatellites contributes to their mutational dynamics. First, we study the duplicated tetranucleotide microsatellite DYS385a,b lying in palindrome P4. We show, by comparing observed data with simulated data under a SMM within haplogroups, that observed heteroallelic combinations in which the modal repeat number difference between copies was large, can give rise to homoallelic combinations with zero repeats difference, equivalent to many single-step mutations. These are unlikely to be generated under a strict SMM, suggesting the action of gene conversion. Second, we show that the inter-copy repeat-number difference for a large set of duplicated microsatellites in all palindromes in the MSY reference sequence is significantly reduced compared to that for non-palindrome duplicated microsatellites, suggesting that the former are characterized by unusual evolutionary dynamics. These observations indicate that gene conversion violates the SMM for microsatellites in palindromes, homogenizing copies within individual Y chromosomes, but increasing overall haplotype diversity among chromosomes within related groups.
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