FISH experiments on metaphase chromosomes, interphase nuclei, and extended chromatin were performed to investigate the structural organization of alphoid subsets coexisting on human chromosomes 1, 4, 5, 7, 9, 15, 18, and 19. Results indicate that multiple subsets present on chromosomes 5, 7, 15, 18, and 19 are organized in structurally distinct and contiguous domains, while those on chromosomes 4 and 9 give perfectly overlapping signals. Chromosome 1 shows a peculiar organization: probe pAL1, specific for this chromosome, detects two distinct domains separated by the subset identified by probe pZ5.1. The order along the chromosome of alphoid subsets lying on chromosomes 5, 7, 15, 18, and 19, organized in distinct blocks, has also been established. The relationship between the structural organization of these alphoid sequences and their evolutionary history in great apes is discussed.
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