microsatellites, VNTRs, minisatellites

Steve Guroff stevegur at abac.com
Wed Jun 26 00:05:52 EST 1996

Paulo Santos wrote:
> I would like to have a definition of the following expressions:
> microsatellite
> minisatellite
> AmpFLP
> Amp
> Thanks in advance,
> --
> Paulo Santos
> LUSOTRANSPLANTE                                Fax      +351-39-33674
> Centro de Histocompatibilidade do Centro       Telefone +351-39-33693
> Apartado 3004  P-3049 COIMBRA Codex  PORTUGAL           +351-39-20527Dear Paulo,

Hope you don't mind answers in English; my Portugese is lousy.  On micro-
and minisatellites, all I can tell you is they're DNA structures; I can't 
even remember if they're genomic DNA or not.  As for the others:

VNTR = Variable Number Tandem Repeat; describes a locus consisting of a 
series of repeats of a given sequence.  These loci are found in "junk" 
(noncoding) regions, but are useful in forensic biology as the number of 
repeats is, as the title implies, highly variable between individuals.  
The "classic" method of forensic DNA analysis ("classic" means "ten years 
old"), restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) analysis, is based 
on the examination of VNTR loci.

AmpFLP = Amplifiable Fragment Length Polymorphism; a DNA locus consisting
of tandem repeats as described above, for which primer sequences for PCR
amplification have been identified.  These loci are also called short 
tandem repeats, or STR's, since the length of the repeat sequence is 
usually <20 base pairs, and often as little as four.

Amp, I assume, is an abbreviation for "Amplifiable".

Hope this helps.

Steve Guroff

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