The human Y chromosome contains a group of repeated DNA elements, identified as 3.4-kilobase pair (kb) fragments in Hae III digests of male genomic DNA, which contain both Y-specific and non-Y-specific sequences. We have used these 3.4-kb Hae III Y fragments to explore the organizational properties and chromosomal distribution of the autosomal homologs of the non-Y-specific (NYS) 3.4-kb Hae III Y elements. Three distinct organizations, termed domains, have been identified and shown to have major concentrations on separate chromosomes. We have established that domain K is located on chromosome 15 and domain D on chromosome 16 and suggested that domain R is on chromosome 1. Our findings suggest that each domain is composed of a tandemly arrayed cluster of a regularly repeating unit containing two sets of repeated sequences: one that is homologous to the NYS 3.4-kb Hae III Y sequences and one that does not cross-react with the 3.4-kb Hae III Y repeats. Thus, these autosomal repeated DNA domains, like their Y chromosome counterparts, consist of a complex mixture of repeated DNA elements interspersed among each other in ways that lead to defined periodicities. Although each of the three identified autosomal domains cross-reacts with 3.4-kb Hae III Y fragments purified from genomic DNA, the length periodicities and sequence content of the autosomal domains are chromosome specific. The organizational properties and chromosomal distribution of these NYS 3.4-kb Hae III homologs seem inconsistent with stochastic mechanisms of sequence diffusion between chromosomes.
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