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Nature. 1985 Oct 31-Nov 6;317(6040):819-22.

Repeat sequence families derived from mammalian tRNA genes.


Short interspersed repetitive DNA sequences (SINEs) are the major component of dispersed repetitive DNA in all mammalian genomes. Most SINEs contain an intragenic RNA polymerase III promoter that initiates transcription at the 5' end of the repeated DNA sequence and which has been proposed to facilitate the transposition and amplification of these sequences by an RNA-intermediate mechanism. We have discovered several SINE families in the prosimian Galago crassicaudatus which have promoter regions similar to transfer RNA genes. To determine the relationship between Galago SINEs and mammalian tRNA genes, we have compared their sequences. Here, we demonstrate that the Galago monomer and type II SINE families are 68 and 62% homologous, respectively, with a human methionine tRNA gene. We have extended our analysis to include the rat identifier and mouse B2 families and show that their sequences are closely related to alanine and serine tRNA genes, respectively. Our observations suggest that many mammalian SINE families are amplified tRNA pseudogenes.

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