The dynamic nature and evolutionary history of subtelomeric and pericentromeric regions.
The organization and evolution of the subtelomeric and pericentromeric regions of human chromosomes exhibit unique characteristics compared to other regions of the genome. As shown in Fig. 1 the functional elements of the centromere and telomere are comprised of highly repetitive DNA sequences, which are responsible for carrying out the main mechanistic duties of these two regions: chromosome segregation and end replication, respectively. The nature of the repeats in these two regions and their function have been reviewed separately and, therefore, will not be discussed in more detail here (Sullivan et al., 1996, 2001; McEachern et al., 2000; Henikoff et al., 2001). Adjacent to these functional element regions, the centromere and telomere regions share an interesting architecture as depicted in Fig. 1. For both pericentromeric and subtelomeric regions, blocks of recent genomic duplications form a zone of shared sequence homologies between certain subsets of human chromosomes. The dynamic nature and evolutionary history of these regions and the unique DNA sequence adjacent to them will be the focus of this review.