After the completion of a draft human genome sequence1, the International Human Genome Sequencing Consortium has proceeded to finish2 and annotate each of the 24 chromosomes comprising the human genome. Here we describe the sequencing and analysis of human chromosome 3, one of the largest human chromosomes. Chromosome 3 comprises just four contigs, one of which currently represents the longest unbroken stretch of finished DNA sequence known so far. The chromosome is remarkable in having the lowest rate of segmental duplication in the genome. It also includes a chemokine receptor gene cluster as well as numerous loci involved in multiple human cancers such as the gene encoding FHIT, which contains the most common constitutive fragile site in the genome, FRA3B3. Using genomic sequence from chimpanzee and rhesus macaque, we were able to characterize the breakpoints defining a large pericentric inversion that occurred some time after the split of Homininae from Ponginae, and propose an evolutionary history of the inversion.
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