Although plants and animals are evolutionarily distant, the structure and function of their chromosomes are largely conserved. This allowed the establishment of a human-Arabidopsis hybrid cell line in which a neo-chromosome was formed by insertion of segments of Arabidopsis chromosomes into human chromosome 15. We used this unique system to investigate how the introgressed part of a plant genome was maintained in human genetic background. The analysis of the neo-chromosome in 60- and 300-day-old cell cultures by next-generation sequencing and molecular cytogenetics suggested its origin by fusion of DNA fragments of different sizes from Arabidopsis chromosomes 2, 3, 4, and 5, which were randomly intermingled rather than joined end-to-end. The neo-chromosome harbored Arabidopsis centromeric repeats and terminal human telomeres. Arabidopsis centromere wasn't found to be functional. Most of the introgressed Arabidopsis DNA was eliminated during the culture, and the Arabidopsis genome in 300-day-old culture showed significant variation in copy number as compared with the copy number variation in the 60-day-old culture. Amplified Arabidopsis centromere DNA and satellite repeats were localized at particular loci and some fragments were inserted into various positions of human chromosome. Neo-chromosome reorganization and behavior in somatic cell hybrids between the plant and animal kingdoms are discussed.
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