Velo-cardio-facial syndrome/DiGeorge syndrome results from unequal crossing-over events between two 240-kb low-copy repeats termed LCR22 (LCR22-2 and LCR22-4) on Chromosome 22q11.2, comprised of modules, each of which are >99% identical in sequence. To delineate regions in the LCR22s that might contain hotspots for 22q11.2 rearrangements, we scanned the interval for increased rates of recombination with the hypothesis that these regions might be more prone to breakage. We generated an algorithm to detect sites of altered recombination by searching for single nucleotide polymorphic positions in BAC clones from different libraries mapped to LCR22-2 and LCR22-4. This method distinguishes single nucleotide polymorphisms from paralogous sequence variants and complex polymorphic positions. Sites of shared polymorphism are considered potential sites of gene conversion or double cross-over between the two LCR22s. We found an inverse correlation between regions of paralogous sequence variants that are unique to a given position within one LCR22 and clusters of shared polymorphic sites, suggesting that these clusters depict altered recombination and not remnants of ancestral single nucleotide polymorphisms. We postulate that most shared polymorphic sites are products of past transfers of DNA information between the LCR22s, suggesting that frequent traffic of genetic material may induce genomic instability in the two LCR22s. We also found that gaps up to 1.5 kb long can be transferred between LCR22s.
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