Relative mutation rates at di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide microsatellite loci

Ranajit Chakraborty, Marek Kimmel, David N. Stivers, Leslea J. Davison, Ranjan Deka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

343 Scopus citations


Using the generalized stepwise mutation model, we propose a method of estimating the relative mutation rates of microsatellite loci, grouped by the repeal motif. Applying ANOVA to the distributions of the allele sizes at microsatellite loci from a set of populations, grouped by repeat motif types, we estimated the effect of population size differences and mutation rate differences among loci. This provides an estimate of motif-type-specific mutation rates up to a multiplicative constant. Applications to four different sets of di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide loci from a number of human populations reveal that, on average, the non-disease-causing microsatellite loci have mutation rates inversely related to their motif sizes. The dinucleotides appear to have mutation rates 1.5-2 times higher than the tetranucleotides, and the non-disease-causing trinucleotides have mutation rates intermediate between the di- and tetranucleolides. In contrast, the disease-causing trinucleotides have mutation rates 3.9-6.9 times larger than the tetranucleotides. Comparison of these estimates with the direct observations of mutation rates at microsatellites indicates that the earlier suggestion of higher mutation rates of tetranucleotides in comparison with the dinucleotides may stem from a nonrandom sampling of tetranucleotide loci in direct mutation assays.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1046
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - 4 Feb 1997


Dive into the research topics of 'Relative mutation rates at di-, tri-, and tetranucleotide microsatellite loci'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this