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J Mol Evol. 2004 Jan;58(1):122-30.

Different rates of LINE-1 (L1) retrotransposon amplification and evolution in New World monkeys.

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  • 1Section on Genomic Structure and Function, Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892-0830, USA.


LINE-1 (L1) elements constitute the major family of retrotransposons in mammalian genomes. Here we report the first investigation of L1 evolution in New World monkeys (NWM). Two regions of the second open-reading frame were analyzed by two methods in three NWM species, the squirrel monkey (Saimiri sciureus), the tamarin (Saguinus oedipus), and the spider monkey (Ateles paniscus). Since these three species diverged, L1 has amplified in the Saimiri and Saguinus lineages but L1 activity seems to have been strongly reduced in the Ateles lineage. In addition, the active L1 lineage has evolved rapidly in Saimiri and Saguinus, generating species-specific subfamilies. In contrast, we found no evidence for a species-specific subfamily in Ateles, a result consistent with the low L1 activity in this species for the last approximately 25 My.

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