Highly repetitive DNA sequences found in heterochromatin, mainly near centromeres. They are composed of simple sequences (very short) repeated in tandem many times to form large blocks of sequence. Additionally, following the accumulation of mutations, these blocks of repeats have been repeated in tandem themselves. The degree of repetition is on the order of 1000 to 10 million at each locus. Loci are few, usually one or two per chromosome. They were called satellites since in density gradients, they often sediment as distinct, satellite bands separate from the bulk of genomic DNA owing to a distinct base composition.
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