satellite DNA

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The proportion of the DNA of a eukaryotic cell that consists of very large numbers (approximately 106) of copies of a short nucleotide sequence. It occurs mainly around the centromeres and telomeres of the chromosomes. The highly repetitive nature of this DNA fraction gives it a distinctive base composition, and consequently when samples of DNA are centrifuged it forms so-called ‘satellite bands’ quite separate from the band representing the bulk of the cell's DNA. See repetitive DNA. Compare microsatellite DNA; variable number tandem repeats.

Subjects: Biological Sciences.

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