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Doing the DNA shuffle

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11:06am, November 7, 2007

From San Diego, at a meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics

During the 6 million years since humans' ancestral lineage diverged from the ancestors of the other great apes, DNA near the ends of human chromosomes has evolved more rapidly than scientists had previously realized.

A new comparison of macaque, orangutan, ape, chimpanzee, and human genomes shows a surprising amount of DNA reshuffling in these chromosome regions, called subtelomeres. These volatile areas of roughly 150,000 to 500,000 genetic units lie between the main body of a chromosome, which varies little among related species, and the caps on each end of the chromosome, called telomeres.

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