Standard Article

Human Chromosome Evolution

  1. Gerald P Holmquist1,
  2. Johannes Wienberg2

Published Online: 14 MAR 2008

DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0001447.pub2



How to Cite

Holmquist, G. P. and Wienberg, J. 2008. Human Chromosome Evolution. eLS. .

Author Information

  1. 1

    City of Hope Medical Center, Duarte, California, USA

  2. 2

    National Cancer Institute, Frederick, Maryland, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 14 MAR 2008


During mammalian genome evolution, nuclear DNA content remained more or less unchanged and the chromosomal banding pattern was maintained with the exception of occasional chromosomal rearrangements. Chromosomal rearrangements occur frequently in individuals but only occasionally are they fixed into the common karyotype of a new species. The fixed rearrangements are passed on during evolution and unambiguously reveal how mammalian species are related to each other.


  • telomeres;
  • centromeres;
  • chromosome bands;
  • mobile genetic elements