• We are sorry, but NCBI web applications do not support your browser and may not function properly. More information
Logo of narLink to Publisher's site
Nucleic Acids Res. Jan 11, 1995; 23(1): 170–175.
PMCID: PMC306646

Ubiquitous mammalian-wide interspersed repeats (MIRs) are molecular fossils from the mesozoic era.


Short interspersed elements (SINEs) are ubiquitous in mammalian genomes. Remarkable variety of these repeats among placental orders indicates that most of them amplified in each lineage independently, following mammalian radiation. Here, we present an ancient family of repeats, whose sequence divergence and common occurrence among placental mammals, marsupials and monotremes indicate their amplification during the Mesozoic era. They are called MIRs for abundant Mammalian-wide Interspersed Repeats. With approximately 120,000 copies still detectable in the human genome (0.2-0.3% DNA), MIRs represent a 'fossilized' record of a major genetic event preceding the radiation of placental orders.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.3M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Wilson AC, Sarich VM, Maxson LR. The importance of gene rearrangement in evolution: evidence from studies on rates of chromosomal, protein, and anatomical evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1974 Aug;71(8):3028–3030. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Brini AT, Lee GM, Kinet JP. Involvement of Alu sequences in the cell-specific regulation of transcription of the gamma chain of Fc and T cell receptors. J Biol Chem. 1993 Jan 15;268(2):1355–1361. [PubMed]
  • Brosius J, Gould SJ. On "genomenclature": a comprehensive (and respectful) taxonomy for pseudogenes and other "junk DNA". Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Nov 15;89(22):10706–10710. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Garret M, McHendry-Rinde B, Spickofsky N, Margolskee RF. Isolation of a clone which induces expression of the gene encoding the human tumor necrosis factor receptor. Gene. 1992 Feb 15;111(2):215–222. [PubMed]
  • Kim JH, Yu CY, Bailey A, Hardison R, Shen CK. Unique sequence organization and erythroid cell-specific nuclear factor-binding of mammalian theta 1 globin promoters. Nucleic Acids Res. 1989 Jul 25;17(14):5687–5700. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Lehrman MA, Russell DW, Goldstein JL, Brown MS. Alu-Alu recombination deletes splice acceptor sites and produces secreted low density lipoprotein receptor in a subject with familial hypercholesterolemia. J Biol Chem. 1987 Mar 5;262(7):3354–3361. [PubMed]
  • Onda M, Kudo S, Rearden A, Mattei MG, Fukuda M. Identification of a precursor genomic segment that provided a sequence unique to glycophorin B and E genes. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Aug 1;90(15):7220–7224. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rouyer F, Simmler MC, Page DC, Weissenbach J. A sex chromosome rearrangement in a human XX male caused by Alu-Alu recombination. Cell. 1987 Nov 6;51(3):417–425. [PubMed]
  • Vidal F, Mougneau E, Glaichenhaus N, Vaigot P, Darmon M, Cuzin F. Coordinated posttranscriptional control of gene expression by modular elements including Alu-like repetitive sequences. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Jan 1;90(1):208–212. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Singer MF. Highly repeated sequences in mammalian genomes. Int Rev Cytol. 1982;76:67–112. [PubMed]
  • Weiner AM, Deininger PL, Efstratiadis A. Nonviral retroposons: genes, pseudogenes, and transposable elements generated by the reverse flow of genetic information. Annu Rev Biochem. 1986;55:631–661. [PubMed]
  • Degen SJ, Davie EW. Nucleotide sequence of the gene for human prothrombin. Biochemistry. 1987 Sep 22;26(19):6165–6177. [PubMed]
  • Donehower LA, Slagle BL, Wilde M, Darlington G, Butel JS. Identification of a conserved sequence in the non-coding regions of many human genes. Nucleic Acids Res. 1989 Jan 25;17(2):699–710. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Armour JA, Wong Z, Wilson V, Royle NJ, Jeffreys AJ. Sequences flanking the repeat arrays of human minisatellites: association with tandem and dispersed repeat elements. Nucleic Acids Res. 1989 Jul 11;17(13):4925–4935. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jurka J. Novel families of interspersed repetitive elements from the human genome. Nucleic Acids Res. 1990 Jan 11;18(1):137–141. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Schmid C, Maraia R. Transcriptional regulation and transpositional selection of active SINE sequences. Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1992 Dec;2(6):874–882. [PubMed]
  • Adey NB, Tollefsbol TO, Sparks AB, Edgell MH, Hutchison CA., 3rd Molecular resurrection of an extinct ancestral promoter for mouse L1. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Feb 15;91(4):1569–1573. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Smith TF, Waterman MS. Identification of common molecular subsequences. J Mol Biol. 1981 Mar 25;147(1):195–197. [PubMed]
  • Faulkner DV, Jurka J. Multiple aligned sequence editor (MASE). Trends Biochem Sci. 1988 Aug;13(8):321–322. [PubMed]
  • Jurka J, Kaplan DJ, Duncan CH, Walichiewicz J, Milosavljevic A, Murali G, Solus JF. Identification and characterization of new human medium reiteration frequency repeats. Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Mar 11;21(5):1273–1279. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Hwu HR, Roberts JW, Davidson EH, Britten RJ. Insertion and/or deletion of many repeated DNA sequences in human and higher ape evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1986 Jun;83(11):3875–3879. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rinehart FP, Ritch TG, Deininger PL, Schmid CW. Renaturation rate studies of a single family of interspersed repeated sequences in human deoxyribonucleic acid. Biochemistry. 1981 May 26;20(11):3003–3010. [PubMed]
  • Moyzis RK, Torney DC, Meyne J, Buckingham JM, Wu JR, Burks C, Sirotkin KM, Goad WB. The distribution of interspersed repetitive DNA sequences in the human genome. Genomics. 1989 Apr;4(3):273–289. [PubMed]
  • Sinnett D, Deragon JM, Simard LR, Labuda D. Alumorphs--human DNA polymorphisms detected by polymerase chain reaction using Alu-specific primers. Genomics. 1990 Jul;7(3):331–334. [PubMed]
  • Zietkiewicz E, Labuda M, Sinnett D, Glorieux FH, Labuda D. Linkage mapping by simultaneous screening of multiple polymorphic loci using Alu oligonucleotide-directed PCR. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Sep 15;89(18):8448–8451. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Zietkiewicz E, Rafalski A, Labuda D. Genome fingerprinting by simple sequence repeat (SSR)-anchored polymerase chain reaction amplification. Genomics. 1994 Mar 15;20(2):176–183. [PubMed]
  • Kido Y, Aono M, Yamaki T, Matsumoto K, Murata S, Saneyoshi M, Okada N. Shaping and reshaping of salmonid genomes by amplification of tRNA-derived retroposons during evolution. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Mar 15;88(6):2326–2330. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Li WH, Tanimura M. The molecular clock runs more slowly in man than in apes and monkeys. Nature. 1987 Mar 5;326(6108):93–96. [PubMed]
  • Martin AP, Palumbi SR. Body size, metabolic rate, generation time, and the molecular clock. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 May 1;90(9):4087–4091. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Novacek MJ. Mammalian phylogeny: shaking the tree. Nature. 1992 Mar 12;356(6365):121–125. [PubMed]
  • Smit AF. Identification of a new, abundant superfamily of mammalian LTR-transposons. Nucleic Acids Res. 1993 Apr 25;21(8):1863–1872. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Smit AF, Riggs AD. MIRs are classic, tRNA-derived SINEs that amplified before the mammalian radiation. Nucleic Acids Res. 1995 Jan 11;23(1):98–102. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from Nucleic Acids Research are provided here courtesy of Oxford University Press


Related citations in PubMed

See reviews...See all...

Cited by other articles in PMC

See all...


  • Compound
    PubChem Compound links
  • MedGen
    Related information in MedGen
  • PubMed
    PubMed citations for these articles
  • Substance
    PubChem Substance links

Recent Activity

Your browsing activity is empty.

Activity recording is turned off.

Turn recording back on

See more...