Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Alu Sequence

Name for a characteristic 281 base sequence of DNA recognized by the restriction endonuclease Alu1. It is very common: about 5-10% of human DNA consists of the Alu sequence, or about 300-500k copies in the nuclear genome; it appears to be untranscribed DNA. Because it is polymorphic, it can be used for phylogenetic studies. The sequence had been proposed as an example of selfish DNA. Aka alu family, alu element.


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