Microsatellite sequences are repetitive DNA sequences usually several base pairs in length. Microsatellite sequences are composed of non-coding DNA and are not parts of genes. They are used as genetic markers to follow the inheritance of genes in families.
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A microsatellite. These are little bits of DNA in our genome that are very simple in the sense that they're only made up of two or three combinations of letters, like CACACA or GATGATGAT. And it turns out that these little repetitive sequences within our genome vary very quickly between different people. And so it's very easy [for] these microsatellite repetitive sequences to try and so-call fingerprint DNA with a particular human being.
Elliott Margulies, Ph.D.
Investigator, Genome Technology Branch; Head, Genome Informatics Section
Dr. Margulies develops bioinformatical approaches to identifying and characterizing regions of the human genome that are evolutionarily conserved across multiple species. The conservation of these sequences over millions of years of evolution is strong evidence that they play important roles in biology, such as coding for genes or functioning as regulatory elements. He has played an important role in advancing the goals of the NIH Intramural Sequencing Center (NISC) Comparative Sequencing Program. Dr. Margulies's group utilizes both high-performance computational analyses and laboratory-based high-throughput genomic methods to decipher the genetic information that confers biological function.