In higher eukaryotes the mechanism controlling initiation of DNA replication remains largely unknown. New technologies are needed to shed light on how DNA replication initiates along the genome in specific regions. To identify the human DNA sequence requirements for initiation of replication, we developed a new method that allows selection of replication origins starting from large genomic regions of human DNA. We repeatedly isolated 15 new putative replication origins (PROs) from a human DNA region of 500 kb in which 17 genes have previously been characterized. Fine-mapping of these PROs showed that DNA replication can initiate at many specific points along actively transcribed DNA in the cell lines used for our selection. In conclusion, in this paper we describe a new method to identify PROs that suggests that the availability of initiation sites is dependent on the transcriptional state of the DNA.
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