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Bioessays. 2020 Jan;42(1):e1900154. doi: 10.1002/bies.201900154. Epub 2019 Dec 9.

Telomere-Specialized Retroelements in Drosophila: Adaptive Symbionts of the Genome, Neutral, or in Conflict?

Author information

1
Department of Biology, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, 76019, USA.

Abstract

Linear chromosomes shorten in every round of replication. In Drosophila, telomere-specialized long interspersed retrotransposable elements (LINEs) belonging to the jockey clade offset this shortening by forming head-to-tail arrays at Drosophila telomere ends. As such, these telomeric LINEs have been considered adaptive symbionts of the genome, protecting it from premature decay, particularly as Drosophila lacks a conventional telomerase holoenzyme. However, as reviewed here, recent work reveals a high degree of variation and turnover in the telomere-specialized LINE lineages across Drosophila. There appears to be no absolute requirement for LINE activity to maintain telomeres in flies, hence the suggestion that the telomere-specialized LINEs may instead be neutral or in conflict with the host, rather than adaptive.

KEYWORDS:

Drosophila; telomerase; telomere; telomere-elongating mechanisms; telomeric transposable elements; transposable element conflict

PMID:
31815300
DOI:
10.1002/bies.201900154

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