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Chromosoma. 1989 Sep;98(3):215-24.

The beta heterochromatic sequences flanking the I elements are themselves defective transposable elements.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Génétique, Université Blaise Pascal, Aubière, France.


Phylogenetic studies suggest that mobile element families are unstable components of the Drosophila genome. Two examples of immobilization of a transposable element family are presented here: as judged by their constant genomic organization among unrelated strains, the F and I element families have been respectively immobilized for a long time in D. simulans and in the reactive D. melanogaster strains (these are the laboratory strains which escaped the recent I invasion of D. melanogaster natural populations). All the elements of these defective families are located in the beta heterochromatic portion of the genome. Moreover, most if not all of the beta heterochromatic sequences into which the defective I elements are embedded are themselves non-mobile members of various nomadic families such as mdg 4, 297, 1731, F and Doc. These results are discussed with special emphasis on the possible nomadic origin of beta heterochromatin components and on the mechanisms of evolutionary turnover of the transposable element families.

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