lashir "lashir at earthlink.net" at earthlink.net
Thu Jan 30 14:04:43 EST 1997

Boris Martchenko wrote:
> Hi all:
> Could anyone tell me who is the author of term "microsatellites" and is it
> the same that "simple sequences"?
> (refers is appreciated)
> Thanks,
> Boris

I believe that the terminology is attributed to Alex Jefferies and
refers to tandem repeats of 2 to 5 base pairs.  In the mid 80's, he was
analyzing the human myoglobin gene when he discovered a region
consisting of a 33-base pair sequence repeated a few times which he
referred to as a minisatellite, see EMBO J. 3,439-446,1984 and Nature
vol314 2 March 1985.  The reference to satellite had something to do
with sedimentation rates of DNA.  One of the most abundant repetitive
sequences interspaced fairly uniformly throughout the genome are CA
repeats documented by Weber at the Marshfield lab and referred to as
microsatellites.  Tandem repeats of various lengths have been used in
forensic cases for identification purposed as well as HLA antigens and
mitochondrial DNA which are for association with maternal lineage.  The
latter have been referenced in poignant papers describing the
identification of missing children in Argentina, Genes of War, Discover,
Oct, 1990, and the identification of family members of the Czarist
family murdered during the Bolshevik revolution.

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