Monday, December 12, 2011

Mutational Dynamics of Microsatellites

Molecular anthropologists use microsatellites for a number of purposes, yet their mutation dynamics are still not well understood. This article contributes to the understanding of the mutation dynamics of this important class of DNA sequence repeats. In particular, it looks at the mutational mechanics of microsatellites. Before doing so, it provides a thorough definition of these mutations, including their multiple other nomenclatures - SSRs (short sequence repeats) or STRs (short tandem repeats). In class and in the textbook I am sure we have seen microsatellites referred to as STRs, but I'm don't believe we've used the name SSR. This is a helpful abbreviation for anyone trying to remember their particular function - that is, that microsatellites are repeats on the genome sequence. This is a minor point, yet it seems helpful to make a note of it, given that this type of VNTR mutation has a name which directly links it to what it actually affects. However, the mutation mechanics the STRs are the true focus of this study and shows data which precisely measures the (relatively high) mutation rates of microsatellites, along with a host of other features of mutation dynamics.

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