A contig covering the entire region of Chlorella vulgaris chromosome I (980 kb long), consisting of 33 cosmid clones has been constructed. By cross-hybridization with other chromosomal DNAs, universal structural elements were detected and localized on the contig. They were composed of at least three different elements: short interspersed DNA elements (SINE)-like elements, long interspersed DNA elements (LINE)-like elements and a putative centromere-like element. At least 36 copies of SINE-like elements were distributed over chromosome I with preferential locations on the right half of the chromosome. DNA fragments containing a SINE-like sequence showed a bent or curved DNA nature on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. LINE-like elements were clustered at the left terminus of chromosome I where they formed a tandem array of six copies immediately adjacent to the telomeric repeats. A long sequence element localized at a unique region of chromosome I also existed in a single copy on each chromosome and contained a sequence related to the reverse transcriptase domain of retrotransposons. This feature was compared with the reported centromere-associated elements of higher plants. With its comparative simplicity, the organization of Chlorella chromosome I genomic elements may serve as a prototypic experimental system for deciphering the complexity of huge plant chromosomes.
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