The hybridization of human DNA with three non-cross-hybridizing monomers (68 bp in length) of the heterochromatic Sau3A family of DNA repeats, indicates the coexistence within a Sau3A-positive genomic block of divergent Sau3A units as well as of unrelated sequences. To gain some insight into the structure of these human heterochromatic DNA regions, three previously cloned Sau3A-positive genomic fragments (with a total length of approximately 1900 base-pairs (bp)) were sequenced. The analysis of the sequences showed the presence of clustered Sau3A units with different degrees of divergence and of two DNA regions of approximately 100 bp and 291 bp in length, unrelated to the family of repeats. A consensus sequence derived from the 24 identified Sau3A monomers presents, among highly variable regions, two less variant regions of 8 bp and 10 bp in length, respectively. The Sau3A-unrelated DNA fragment 291 bp in length, used as a probe on genomic DNA digested with a series of restriction enzymes, defines a "new" family of DNA repeats possessing periodicities for HaeIII (HaeIII family). Sau3A and HaeIII repeats display a high degree of linkage in a collection of Sau3A-positive genomic recombinant phages.
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