Cancer Information

microsatellite

(MY-kroh-SA-teh-lite)

A short sequence of DNA, usually 1 to 4 basepairs (a unit of DNA), that is repeated together in a row along the DNA molecule. There is variation from person to person in the number of repeats. There are hundreds of places in human DNA that contain microsatellites.

Repetitive segments of DNA scattered throughout the genome in noncoding regions between genes or within genes (introns). They are often used as markers for linkage analysis because of their naturally occurring high variability in repeat number between individuals. These regions are inherently genetically unstable and susceptible to mutations.