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Artificial Chromosomes - Mammalian Artificial Chromosomes

dna human sequence sequences

Mammalian artificial chromosomes (MACs) are conceptually similar to YACs, but instead of yeast sequences they contain mammalian or human ones. In this case the telomeric sequences are multimers (multiple copies) of the sequence TTAGGG, and the commonly used centromeric sequence is composed of another repeated DNA sequence found at the natural centromeres of human chromosomes and called alphoid DNA.

Because the alphoid DNA is needed in units of many kilobases, these MAC DNAs are grown as YACs or, more recently, as BACs. When added to suitable cell lines, these MAC DNAs form chromosomes that mimic those in the cell, with accurate segregation and the normal complement of proteins at telomeres and centromeres. Their primary use is not in genome mapping but as vectors for delivery of large fragments of DNA to mammalian cells and to whole animals for expression of large genes or sets of genes. They are still in development, and although gene expression has been demonstrated they have not been used in a practical application.

Howard Cooke


Grimes, B., and H. Cooke. "Engineering Mammalian Chromosomes." Human Molecular Genetics 7, no. 10 (1998): 1635-1640.

Willard, H. F. "Genomics and Gene Therapy: Artificial Chromosomes Coming to Life." Science 290 (2000): 1308-1309.

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