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Genetic variation exists for telomeric array organization within and among the genomes of normal, immortalized, and transformed chicken systems


This study investigated telomeric array organization of diverse chicken genotypes utilizing in vivo and in vitro cells having phenotypes with different proliferation potencies. Our experimental objective was to characterize the extent and nature of array variation present to explore the hypothesis that mega-telomeres are a universal and fixed feature of chicken genotypes. Four different genotypes were studied including normal (UCD 001, USDA-ADOL Line 0), immortalized (DF-1), and transformed (DT40) cells. Both cytogenetic and molecular approaches were utilized to develop an integrated view of telomeric array organization. It was determined that significant variation exists within and among chicken genotypes for chromosome-specific telomeric array organization and total genomic-telomeric sequence content. Although there was variation for mega-telomere number and distribution, two mega-telomere loci were in common among chicken genetic lines (GGA 9 and GGA W). The DF-1 cell line was discovered to maintain a complex derivative karyotype involving chromosome fusions in the homozygous and heterozygous condition. Also, the DF-1 cell line was found to contain the greatest amount of telomeric sequence per genome (17%) as compared to UCD 001 (5%) and DT40 (1.2%). The chicken is an excellent model for studying unique and universal features of vertebrate telomere biology, and characterization of the telomere length variation among genotypes will be useful in the exploration of mechanisms controlling telomere length maintenance in different cell types having unique phenotypes.

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