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Genomics. 2013 Oct;102(4):296-300. doi: 10.1016/j.ygeno.2013.08.005. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

Conserved domains and SINE diversity during animal evolution.

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Dip. Scienze Biologiche, Geologiche e Ambientali (BiGeA) - Università di Bologna, via Selmi 3, 40126 Bologna, Italy. Electronic address:


Eukaryotic genomes harbour a number of mobile genetic elements (MGEs); moving from one genomic location to another, they are known to impact on the host genome. Short interspersed elements (SINEs) are well-represented, non-autonomous retroelements and they are likely the most diversified MGEs. In some instances, sequence domains conserved across unrelated SINEs have been identified; remarkably, one of these, called Nin, has been conserved since the Radiata-Bilateria splitting. Here we report on two new domains: Inv, derived from Nin, identified in insects and in deuterostomes, and Pln, restricted to polyneopteran insects. The identification of Inv and Pln sequences allowed us to retrieve new SINEs, two in insects and one in a hemichordate. The diverse structural combination of the different domains in different SINE families, during metazoan evolution, offers a clearer view of SINE diversity and their frequent de novo emergence through module exchange, possibly underlying the high evolutionary success of SINEs.


Conserved domains; LINE; LTR; MGE; Retrotransposons evolution; SINE; Sequence module exchange; Short interspersed elements (SINEs); TSD; long interspersed elements; long terminal repeats; mobile genetic elements; short interspersed elements; target site duplications

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