Physical mapping across a duplication can be a tour de force if the region is larger than the size of a bacterial clone. This was the ease of the 170- to 275-kb duplication present on the long arm of chromosome 21 in normal human at 21q11.1 (proximal region) and at 21q22.1 (distal region), which we described previously. We have constructed sequence-ready contigs of the two copies of the duplication of which all the clones are genuine representatives of one copy or the other. This required the identification of four duplicon polymorphisms that are copy-specific and nonallelic variations in the sequence of the STSs. Thirteen STSs were mapped inside the duplicated region and 5 outside but close to the boundaries. Among these STSs 10 were end clones from YACs, PACs, or cosmids, and the average interval between two markers in the duplicated region was 16 kb. Eight PACS and cosmids showing minimal overlaps were selected in both copies of the duplication. Comparative sequence analysis along the duplication showed three single-basepair changes between the two copies over 659 bp sequenced (4 STSs), suggesting that the duplication is recent (less than 4 mya). Two CpG islands were located in the duplication, but no genes were identified after a 36-kb cosmid from the proximal copy of the duplication was sequenced. The homology of this chromosome 21 duplicated region with the pericentromeric regions of chromosomes 13, 2, and 18 suggests that the mechanism involved is probably similar to pericentromeric-directed mechanisms described in interchromosomal duplications.
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