Using Population Admixture to Help Complete Maps of the Human Genome

Nat Genet. 2013 Apr;45(4):406-14, 414e1-2. doi: 10.1038/ng.2565. Epub 2013 Feb 24.

Abstract

Tens of millions of base pairs of euchromatic human genome sequence, including many protein-coding genes, have no known location in the human genome. We describe an approach for localizing the human genome's missing pieces using the patterns of genome sequence variation created by population admixture. We mapped the locations of 70 scaffolds spanning 4 million base pairs of the human genome's unplaced euchromatic sequence, including more than a dozen protein-coding genes, and identified 8 new large interchromosomal segmental duplications. We find that most of these sequences are hidden in the genome's heterochromatin, particularly its pericentromeric regions. Many cryptic, pericentromeric genes are expressed at the RNA level and have been maintained intact for millions of years while their expression patterns diverged from those of paralogous genes elsewhere in the genome. We describe how knowledge of the locations of these sequences can inform disease association and genome biology studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Computational Biology
  • Euchromatin / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Gene Duplication
  • Genetic Variation / genetics*
  • Genetics, Population*
  • Genome, Human*
  • Heterochromatin / genetics*
  • Humans
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence

Substances

  • Euchromatin
  • Heterochromatin

Grant support