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Genet Res. 2003 Aug;82(1):1-18.

Conserved fragments of transposable elements in intergenic regions: evidence for widespread recruitment of MIR- and L2-derived sequences within the mouse and human genomes.

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National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


We analysed the distribution of transposable elements (TEs) in 100 aligned pairs of orthologous intergenic regions from the mouse and human genomes. Within these regions, conserved segments of high similarity between the two species alternate with segments of low similarity. Identifiable TEs comprise 40-60% of segments of low similarity. Within such segments, a particular copy of a TE found in one species has no orthologue in the other. Overall, TEs comprise only approximately 20 % of conserved segments. However, TEs from two families, MIR and L2, are rather common within conserved segments. Statistical analysis of the distributions of TEs suggests that a majority of the MIR and L2 elements present in murine intergenic regions have human orthologues. These elements must have been present in the common ancestor of human and mouse and have remained under substantial negative selection that prevented their divergence beyond recognition. If so, recruitment of MIR- and L2-derived sequences to perform a function that increases host fitness is rather common, with at least two such events per host gene. The central part of the MIR consensus sequence is over-represented in conserved segments given its background frequency in the genome, suggesting that it is under the strongest selective constraint.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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