Two highly repetitive DNA sequences have been cloned from Arabidopsis thaliana, ecotype Columbia, and were characterized by molecular and cytological analyses. These two sequences belong to the same repeat family with 180-bp basic unit, being tandemly organized in clusters. Pulsed field gel electrophoresis showed that this repeat sequence family forms at least seven clusters from ca. 100 to 1200 kb in length and ca. 3500 kb in total. Fluorescent in situ hybridization to somatic metaphase cells with the monomelic repeat unit as a probe clearly revealed that this repeat family is located at the centromeric regions of all chromosomes. It was also shown that this repetitive sequence is closely associated with limited parts of heterochromatic blocks on the centromeric regions which are visible distinctly at meiotic prophase from leptotene to diakinesis. Furthermore, this sequence hybridized preferentially to both polar sides of five bivalent chromosomes at the first metaphase. These results suggest that the repetitive sequences of this family were derived from the regions very close to the centromeres or on the centromeres themselves.
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