An important problem in comparative genome analysis has been defining reliable measures of synteny conservation. The published analytical measures of synteny conservation have limitations. Nonindependence of comparisons, conserved and disrupted syntenies that are as yet unidentified, and redundant rearrangements lead to systematic errors that tend to overestimate the degree of conservation. We recently derived methods to estimate the total number of conserved syntenies within the genome, counting both those that have already been described and those that remain to be discovered. With this method, we show that ~65% of the conserved syntenies have already been identified for humans and mice, that rates of synteny disruption vary ~25-fold among mammalian lineages, and that despite strong selection against reciprocal translocations, inter-chromosome rearrangements occurred approximately fourfold more often than inversions and other intra-chromosome rearrangements, at least for lineages leading to humans and mice.
- Received December 13, 1996.
- Accepted June 4, 1997.
- Copyright © 1997 by the Genetics Society of America