Genomic divergence between species can be quantified in terms of the number of chromosomal rearrangements that have occurred in the respective genomes following their divergence from a common ancestor. These rearrangements disrupt the structural similarity between genomes, with each rearrangement producing additional, albeit shorter, conserved segments. Here we propose a simple statistical approach on the basis of the distribution of the number of markers in contiguous sets of autosomal markers (CSAMs) to estimate the number of conserved segments. CSAM identification requires information on the relative locations of orthologous markers in one genome and only the chromosome number on which each marker resides in the other genome. We propose a simple mathematical model that can account for the effect of the nonuniformity of the breakpoints and markers on the observed distribution of the number of markers in different conserved segments. Computer simulations show that the number of CSAMs increases linearly with the number of chromosomal rearrangements under a variety of conditions. Using the CSAM approach, the estimate of the number of conserved segments between human and mouse genomes is 529 ± 84, with a mean conserved segment length of 2.8 cM. This length is <40% of that currently accepted for human and mouse genomes. This means that the mouse and human genomes have diverged at a rate of ∼1.15 rearrangements per million years. By contrast, mouse and rat are diverging at a rate of only ∼0.74 rearrangements per million years.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Mar 31 2001|
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