Two New Centromeric Repeats Discovered


Centromeres are the regions at the ends or middle of chromosomes that appear pinched in microscopic images of chromosomes. They are comprised of short DNA sequences repeated 100,000s of times. They are known to have critical roles in genome maintenance but the details of this functionality are far from understood. Because of the highly repeated nature of their DNA sequence, it has been difficult to accurately determine the centromeric DNA sequences and thus these sequences are not included in the publications of the human and mouse DNA sequences that have been published to date. In the mouse, two major centormeric repeat families had previously been recognized. Now, a research team led by Olga Podgornaya at the Institute of Cytology in St. Petersburg, Russia and funded by a DOE foreign scientist humanitarian research grant, has identified two additional centromere repeat families. The result of their research will appear in the journal Chromosome Research. This new discovery will help scientist unravel the complexities of the critical yet poorly characterized role and function that centromeres play in the maintenance and behavior of chromosomes.