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Two types of alpha satellite DNA in distinct chromosomal locations in Azara's owl monkey

Prakhongcheep O, Hirai Y, Hara T, Srikulnath K, Hirai H, Koga A*

Alpha satellite DNA is a repetitive sequence known to be a major DNA component of centromeres in primates (order Primates). New World monkeys form one major taxon (parvorder Platyrrhini) of primates, and their alpha satellite DNA is known to comprise repeat units of around 340 bp. In one species (Azara's owl monkey Aotus azarae) of this taxon, we identified two types of alpha satellite DNA consisting of 185- and 344-bp repeat units, which we designated as OwlAlp1 and OwlAlp2, respectively. OwlAlp2 exhibits similarity throughout its entire sequence to the alpha satellite DNA of other New World monkeys. The chromosomal locations of the two types of sequence are markedly distinct: OwlAlp1 was observed at the centromeric constrictions, while OwlAlp2 was found in the pericentric regions. From these results, we inferred that OwlAlp1 was derived from OwlAlp2 and rapidly replaced OwlAlp2 as the principal alpha satellite DNA on a short time scale at the speciation level. A less likely alternative explanation is also discussed.

DNA Research 20 (2013): in press


Southern hybridization showing
 repeat structure

Chromosomal locations:
green, OwlAlp1; red, OelAlp2


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