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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Aug 1;89(15):6798-802.

Presence of a member of the Tc1-like transposon family from nematodes and Drosophila within the vasotocin gene of a primitive vertebrate, the Pacific hagfish Eptatretus stouti.

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Institut für Zellbiochemie und klinische Neurobiologie, Universität Hamburg, Federal Republic of Germany.


Molecular cloning of the vasotocin gene of a cyclostome, the Pacific hagfish Eptatretus stouti, reveals, in contrast to other known members of the vertebrate vasopressin/oxytocin hormone gene family, an unusual exon-intron organization. Although the location of three exons and two introns is conserved, an additional intron is present 5' of the coding region of the hagfish gene. The third intron, which is greater than 14 kilobase pairs in size, contains on the opposite DNA strand to that encoding vasotocin an open reading frame exhibiting striking similarity to the putative transposase of Tc1-like nonretroviral mobile genetic DNA elements, so far reported only from nematodes and Drosophila. The hagfish element, called Tes1, is flanked by inverted terminal repeats representing an example of the existence of a typical inverted terminal-repeat transposon within vertebrates. The presence of Tc1-like elements in nematodes, Drosophila, and cyclostomes indicates that these genetic elements have a much broader phylogenetic distribution than hitherto expected.

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