Identification of a unique library of complex, but ordered, arrays of repetitive elements in the human genome and implication of their potential involvement in pathobiology

Kang Hoon Lee, Young Kwan Lee, Deug Nam Kwon, Sophia Chiu, Victoria Chew, HyungChul Rah, Gregory Kujawski, Ramzi Melhem, Karen Hsu, Cecilia Chung, David G Greenhalgh, Kiho Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Approximately 2% of the human genome is reported to be occupied by genes. Various forms of repetitive elements (REs), both characterized and uncharacterized, are presumed to make up the vast majority of the rest of the genomes of human and other species. In conjunction with a comprehensive annotation of genes, information regarding components of genome biology, such as gene polymorphisms, non-coding RNAs, and certain REs, is found in human genome databases. However, the genome-wide profile of unique RE arrangements formed by different groups of REs has not been fully characterized yet. In this study, the entire human genome was subjected to an unbiased RE survey to establish a whole-genome profile of REs and their arrangements. Due to the limitation in query size within the bl2seq alignment program (National Center for Biotechnology Information [NCBI]) utilized for the RE survey, the entire NCBI reference human genome was fragmented into 6206 units of 0.5. M nucleotides. A number of RE arrangements with varying complexities and patterns were identified throughout the genome. Each chromosome had unique profiles of RE arrangements and density, and high levels of RE density were measured near the centromere regions. Subsequently, 175 complex RE arrangements, which were selected throughout the genome, were subjected to a comparison analysis using five different human genome sequences. Interestingly, three of the five human genome databases shared the exactly same arrangement patterns and sequences for all 175 RE arrangement regions (a total of 12,765,625 nucleotides). The findings from this study demonstrate that a substantial fraction of REs in the human genome are clustered into various forms of ordered structures. Further investigations are needed to examine whether some of these ordered RE arrangements contribute to the human pathobiology as a functional genome unit.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-311
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental and Molecular Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2011


  • Arrangement
  • Density
  • Human genome
  • Repetitive element

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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