Difference between Minisatellite and Microsatellite

What is minisatellite?

Minisatellite is a region of repetitive DNA sequences that has a length of 10 to 60 base pairs. It usually repeats 5 to 50 times. These minisatellites are more distinguished in the telomeres and the centromeres of the chromosome. This small sequence of repetitive DNA does not code for any protein.

Minisatellites, along with microsatellites, are termed VNTR (variable number tandem repeats). Sometimes minisatellites alone are referred to as VNTRs.

What is microsatellite?

A microsatellite is also known as short tandem repeats (STRs). It is also a region of repetitive DNA that has a length of 1 to 6 (sometimes up to 10) base pairs. It is typically used in DNA fingerprinting. Most microsatellites are found in the non-coding region of the DNA. Microsatellites in the coding regions can lead to diseases and phenotypical changes.

Difference between Minisatellite and Microsatellite

Minisatellite

Microsatellite

Their usual length is 10 to 60 base pairs.

They are short repeats with 1 to 6 base pairs.

They have more C (cytosine) and G (guanine)bases.

They have more T (thymine) and A (adenine) bases.

Sometimes it is also referred to as variable tandem repeats or VNTRs.

It is also known as short tandem repeats (STRs) or simple sequence repeats (SSR).

Also see: Nucleotide Structure and Functions

Frequently Asked Questions on Difference between Minisatellite and Microsatellite

What is VNTR?

Variable number tandem repeats are the site where the short nucleic acid sequence is arranged as tandem repeats. These repeats are clustered and aligned in the same direction. Minisatellites, along with microsatellites, are termed VNTR (variable number tandem repeats). But most commonly, minisatellites alone are referred to as VNTRs

Extended Reading: VNTR

What are tandem repeats?

When one or more nucleic acid sequences are arranged in a repetitive pattern, they are termed tandem repeats. The repetitions typically adjoin each other. Example – CAGCAGCAGC…sequence.

What are the uses of a minisatellite?

Minisatellites act as gene regulators at the level of differential splicing or transcription. They also constitute the terminal part of the chromosomes (telomeres). Thus, they protect the chromosomal end from deterioration and unwanted fusion.

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