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Review
. 2011;135(3-4):271-6.
doi: 10.1159/000330267. Epub 2011 Aug 12.

Origins and Breakpoint Analyses of Copy Number Variations: Up Close and Personal

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Review

Origins and Breakpoint Analyses of Copy Number Variations: Up Close and Personal

E van Binsbergen. Cytogenet Genome Res. .

Abstract

Array-based methods have enabled the detection of many genomic gains and losses. These are stated as copy number variants (CNVs) and comprise up to 13% of the human genome. Based on their breakpoints and modes of formation CNVs are termed recurrent or nonrecurrent. Recurrent CNVs are flanked by low copy repeats and are of a fixed size. They arise as a result of misalignment during meiosis by a mechanism named nonallelic homologous recombination. Several of such recurrent CNVs have been linked to human diseases. Nonrecurrent CNVs, which are not flanked by low copy repeats, are of variable size and may arise via mechanisms like nonhomologous end joining and replication-based mechanisms described by the fork stalling and template switching and microhomology-mediated break-induced replication models. It is becoming clear that most disease-causing CNVs are nonrecurrent and generally arise via replication-based mechanisms. Furthermore, it is now appreciated that genomic features other than low copy repeats play a role in the formation of nonrecurrent CNVs. This review will discuss the different mechanisms of CNV formation and how high resolution analyses of CNV breakpoints have added to our knowledge of their precise structure.

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