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Mol Biol Evol. 1995 May;12(3):421-31.

High copy number of highly similar mariner-like transposons in planarian (Platyhelminthe): evidence for a trans-phyla horizontal transfer.

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Departament de Genètica, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona, Spain.


Several DNA sequences similar to the mariner element were isolated and characterized in the platyhelminthe Dugesia (Girardia) tigrina. They were 1,288 bp long, flanked by two 32 bp-inverted repeats, and contained a single 339 amino acid open-reading frame (ORF) encoding the transposase. The number of copies of this element is approximately 8,000 per haploid genome, constituting a member of the middle-repetitive DNA of Dugesia tigrina. Sequence analysis of several elements showed a high percentage of conservation between the different copies. Most of them presented an intact ORF and the standard signals of actively expressed genes, which suggests that some of them are or have recently been functional transposons. The high degree of similarity shared with other mariner elements from some arthropods, together with the fact that this element is undetectable in other planarian species, strongly suggests a case of horizontal transfer between these two distant phyla.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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