Characterization and population diversity of interspersed repeat sequence variants (IRS-morphs)

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Inter-Alu PCR is increasingly useful in human genome mapping studies. One use is the generation of alumorphs, polymorphisms resulting from the presence or absence of inter-Alu PCR products. In this study, we have increased the proportion of the genome that can be analyzed by this technique with the use of long interspersed elements (LINEs). The set of polymorphisms detected by both Alu and LINE primers are referred to as interspersed repetitive sequence variants or IRS-morphs. Since a presence absence variant may have been the result of a recent Alu or LINE insertion, we analyzed 7 isolated IRS-morphs that were generated, in part, with a primer derived from either a consensus LINE or a young Alu subfamily specific sequence, and observed by Southern blot analysis that these variants resulted from other types of genomic alterations. The use of these primers, however, reduces background from the numerous LINEs and Alu elements in the genome, providing sharp DNA fingerprint profiles. We have demonstrated the potential usefulness of these IRS-morph profiles in human population studies. We compared 12 IRS- morphs from a single amplification reaction from five distinct population groups (Caucasian (northern European descent), Hispanic (Mexican-American), Hindu-Indian, Papua New Guinean, and Greenland Eskimo) and observed that most have variable allelic frequencies among populations. The utilization of additional IRS-morph profiles will perpetuate this technique as a tool for DNA fingerprinting and for the analysis of human populations.

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