Short Tandem Repeat Content

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Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
Likely Difference
MOCA Domain: 

Short tandem repeats, also known as microsatellites, consist of sequences of 1-6 base pairs duplicated in tandem in the genome, and are distributed across the genome. They are often used in forensic analysis and in evolutionary studies. Humans have an increase in dinucleotide and trinucleotide repeats compared to chimpanzees, and have longer microsatellites. Compared to great apes overall, humans have increased amplification of specific trinucleotide repeats, have longer microsatellite alleles, and show higher levels of variability in expanding trinucleotide repeats.

The Human Difference: 

Increased variability


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  1. Expansion of GAA trinucleotide repeats in mammals., Clark, Rhonda M., Bhaskar Sanjeev S., Miyahara Masaki, Dalgliesh Gillian L., and Bidichandani Sanjay I. , Genomics, 2006 Jan, Volume 87, Issue 1, p.57-67, (2006)
  2. A comprehensive survey of human Y-chromosomal microsatellites., Kayser, Manfred, Kittler Ralf, Erler Axel, Hedman Minttu, Lee Andrew C., Mohyuddin Aisha, S Mehdi Qasim, Rosser Zoë, Stoneking Mark, Jobling Mark A., et al. , Am J Hum Genet, 2004 Jun, Volume 74, Issue 6, p.1183-97, (2004)
  3. Comparative genetics of functional trinucleotide tandem repeats in humans and apes., Andrés, Aida M., Soldevila Marta, Lao Oscar, Volpini Victor, Saitou Naruya, Jacobs Howard T., Hayasaka Ikuo, Calafell Francesc, and Bertranpetit Jaume , J Mol Evol, 2004 Sep, Volume 59, Issue 3, p.329-39, (2004)
  4. Genetic absolute dating based on microsatellites and the origin of modern humans., Goldstein, D B., A Linares Ruiz, Cavalli-Sforza L L., and Feldman M W. , Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 1995 Jul 18, Volume 92, Issue 15, p.6723-7, (1995)
  5. Microsatellite evolution--evidence for directionality and variation in rate between species., Rubinsztein, D C., Amos W, Leggo J, Goodburn S, Jain S, Li S H., Margolis R L., Ross C A., and Ferguson-Smith M A. , Nat Genet, 1995 Jul, Volume 10, Issue 3, p.337-43, (1995)